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Wednesday's Energy Stocks: Markets dip after rate hike by Federal Reserve

U.S. financial markets reacted negatively on Wednesday, Dec. 19, after the Federal Reserve raised its federal funds rate for the fourth time in 2018, though officials signaled a preference for a less aggressive approach in 2019.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.49% to 23,323.66, and the S&P 500 fell 1.54% to 2,506.96. Most energy indexes posted losses.

In the oil and gas sector, Helmerich & Payne Inc. stock declined 6.76% to close at $50.77, Halliburton Co. shares gave away 4.62% to finish the day at $27.64 and EnLink Midstream Partners LP stock dropped 3.67% to $11.80, all on high volumes.

Exxon Mobil Corp.'s share price moved down 1.69% to $70.78 on heavy volume. The company told the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it supports the U.S. federal government developing methane emissions standards for both new and existing oil and gas facilities.

Chevron Corp. saw its shares drop 1.74% to $107.83 on active volume. Activist investors have filed new resolutions at Chevron and Norway's Equinor, asking the majors to set greenhouse gas emissions-reductions targets that are in sync with those of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Equinor's stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange inched up 0.71% to $21.41 on active volume.

Altus Midstream Co. shares dipped 2.64% to $8.47 in active trading. Altus subsidiary Altus Midstream LP closed its acquisition of a 15% stake in the Gulf Coast Express pipeline project in Texas from Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline LLC, for an undisclosed sum.

Enbridge Inc. shares ticked up 1.95% to $31.32 in heavy trading. Canadian electric utility FortisBC Inc. informed customers that an Enbridge natural gas transmission pipeline that ruptured in British Columbia has returned to 85% of its normal operating capacity and they can resume regular usage.

Parex Resources Inc.'s stock gained 2.77% to close a strong session at C$14.49. The company announced plans to allocate up to $230 million for capital expenditures in 2019.

Buckeye Partners LP units were up 3.39% after a strong session to close at $28.34. The partnership closed its sale of domestic pipeline and terminal assets for $450 million, as part of a number of actions the partnership executed after emerging from a strategic review.

Other top performers for the day were EQM Midstream Partners LP, shares of which spiked 3.19% to $44.58, and Newfield Exploration Co. with shares hiking 2.92% to $14.47, both in above-average trading volume.

The S&P 500 Energy Index lost 1.25% to 431.50, while the Alerian MLP Index gained 1.07% to 231.69 at market close.

In power, Hydro One Ltd. shares shed 0.97% to close at C$20.51 and Avista Corp. stock grew 1.09% to $43.62, both in slim trading. The companies have filed a petition with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission for reconsideration and rehearing of the commission's Dec. 5 order rejecting their proposed merger.

Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. shares slid 1.90% to $10.34 on above-average volume. The company has secured the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's approval to acquire a Nevada solar farm from Sumitomo Corp.

SCANA Corp. shares increased 0.74% to $49.11 and Dominion Energy Inc. saw a 0.71% rise to $74.11, both on robust volumes. S&P Global Ratings has placed SCANA and its subsidiaries on CreditWatch with positive implications, based on the anticipated close of its $14.7 billion acquisition by Dominion following approval of the deal in South Carolina.

Among the top gainers were utilities from the West Coast. PG&E Corp. shares advanced 3.17% to $23.75 on heavy volume and Edison International stock climbed 1.62% to $58.42 on below-average volume.

In renewables, Sunrun Inc. shares dropped 3.71% to $11.94, SunPower Corp. stock trimmed off 3.58% to close at $5.66 and First Solar Inc. stock slipped 2.27% to $42.25, all on below-average volumes.

The S&P 500 Utilities Index decreased 0.22% to 274.55.

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

The original S&P Global Ratings documents referred to in this news brief can be found here.