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Thursday's Energy Stocks: Coal, midstream players lead sector decline

Stocks continued their retreat on Thursday, Aug. 10, impacted by the rising political tension between the United States and North Korea. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.93% to settle at 21,844.01, while the S&P 500 closed down 1.45% at 2,438.21. The SNL Energy Index ended 0.40% lower at 288.20.

Plains All American Pipeline LP declined 1.62% on strong volume to settle at $20.67. Fitch downgraded the partnership's credit to one level above junk status and warned that it might go further, following the partnership's dismal second-quarter results from the supply and logistics segment and a potential dividend cut.

Kinder Morgan Inc. shares fell 1.82% in above-average trading to close at $19.39. British Columbia's recently elected government has unveiled a plan to halt construction of the company's C$7.4 billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Among other midstream players, Cheniere Energy Inc. shed 4.12% in robust trading to close at $41.11, NGL Energy Partners LP lost 4.23% on thin volume to end at $10.20 and Energy Transfer Equity LP decreased 2.49% on weak volume to finish at $17.23. The SNL Midstream Energy Index retreated 1.38% to 109.22.

Hydro One Ltd. added 0.75% in light trading to settle at C$22.85. The company's subsidiary Ontario Inc. has completed the sale of C$1.54 billion of its 4% convertible unsecured subordinated debentures due Sept. 30, 2027. Proceeds from the sale will be used to fund the company's acquisition of Avista Corp. Shares of Avista were down 0.17% on brisk volume to close at $52.29.

Following the release of their latest financial results, TransAlta Corp. dipped 3.46% on light volume to close at $6.28, Northland Power Inc. climbed 1.84% in robust trading to C$23.22, Just Energy Group Inc. slid 1.34% on average volume to $5.17 and Real Goods Solar Inc slumped 10.36% in below-average trading to close at 75.3 cents.

TransAlta booked net loss attributable to common shareholders of C$18 million, or a loss of 6 Canadian cents per share, compared to net earnings of C$6 million, or 2 cents per share, a year ago.

Northland Power reported that its adjusted EBITDA for the second quarter of 2017 climbed 61.8% year over year to C$168.2 million, compared to C$103.9 million in the comparable quarter of 2016. During an earnings call, CEO John Brace said Northland Power will continue as an independent public company and "a leader in the international clean energy infrastructure sector," following the completion of a strategic review of its business.

Just Energy recorded fiscal first-quarter 2018 base EBITDA of C$32.5 million, down from C$41.1 million during the same quarter of fiscal 2017.

Real Goods Solar posted a net loss of $4.0 million, compared to a net loss of $3.5 million in the second quarter of 2016.

Among coal companies, Westmoreland Coal Co. stumbled 13.31% in strong trading to close at $2.41, Foresight Energy LP dove 9.50% on strong volume to finish at $3.81 and Alliance Resource Partners LP shed 3.17% on light volume to settle at $18.30. The SNL Coal Index fell 1.96% to 63.18.

Meanwhile, Contura Energy Inc. withdrew its planned initial public offering due to capital market conditions that it says would undervalue the company.

NYMEX September natural gas futures surged Thursday, Aug. 10, on the back of a storage injection for the week to Aug. 4 that was below expectations and the five-year average. Reaching $2.995/MMBtu following the midmorning release of the data, the contract settled the session 10.2 cents higher on the day at $2.985/MMBtu.

Market prices and index values are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change.