Markets finished the trading week in the red territory as investors recoiled over a weaker than expected jobs report, while oil prices edged up after the U.S. missile strike in Syria. On Friday, April 7, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.03% to close at 20,656.10, and the S&P 500 closed down 0.08% at 2,355.54.
Utilities and energy stocks were trading higher at around noon but fell sharply after midday trading. The SNL Electric Company Index decreased 0.46% to 451.15, the SNL Gas Utility Index shrank 0.19% to 575.88 and the SNL Energy Index declined 0.45% to 293.01.
Merchants were the hardest hit, with the SNL Merchant Generator Index sliding 0.79% to 84.49. First Solar Inc. earned 0.71% in weak trading to close at $26.81, SunPower Corp. dipped 0.80% on thin volume to end the session at $6.17 and 8point3 Energy Partners LP saw a decrease of 2.26% in robust trading to finish out the week at $11.88.
First Solar wants to quickly sell some of its power plants to help pay for a new product line, but 8point3 Energy, the holding company it created with SunPower to serve as a ready buyer and source of cheap capital cannot afford any big acquisitions.
Extending gains from the previous day's trading, Sunoco LP added 2.47% on brisk volume to settle at $29.40.
Fitch Ratings put Sunoco and Sunoco Finance Corp. on rating watch positive. "Fitch believes that the wholesale fuel business, supported in part by a long-term (15 year) fixed rate contract with 7-Eleven, should generate fairly consistent earnings and cash flows for [Sunoco]," the rating agency said in a note.
However, Fitch expressed some hesitation about Sunoco's financial future as the finished-petroleum-products specialist in the Energy Transfer Equity LP/Energy Transfer Partners LP complex. Energy Transfer Equity shed 0.82% on slim volume to close at $19.27, and Energy Transfer Partners declined 0.38% in above-average trading to finish at $36.35.
Meanwhile, Enbridge Inc. urged shareholders to reject an unsolicited "mini-tender" offer by TRC Capital Corporation seeking to buy up to 2,500,000 common shares, or about 0.15% of Enbridge's outstanding shares, at a below-market price. Enbridge ended the trading session 0.45% higher on light volume to close at $42.35.
The SNL Midstream Energy Index trickled down 0.36% to 123.68.
Coal equities relinquished Thursday's gains as the SNL Coal Index slid 0.50% to 72.63. Among bottom-performers, Alliance Holdings GP LP lost 2.19% to $28.57, Alliance Resource Partners LP declined 2.17% to $22.55 and Hallador Energy Co. receded 1.00% to $7.94, all on light trading.
NYMEX May natural gas futures were lower Friday, in profit taking and amid expectations of demand erosion as weather warms across the U.S. The contract settled 7.0 cents lower at $3.261/MMBtu, after trading a range from $3.254/MMBtu to $3.340/MMBtu.
Market prices and index values are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change.