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Wednesday's Energy Stocks: Wall Street flourishes with record highs

Wall Street broke records on Wednesday, Jan. 25, as recent executive orders announced by President Donald Trump fueled investors' bullish stance. The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke the 20,000 ceiling, peaking at 20,082.00 before settling 0.78% higher to 20,068.51. The S&P 500 also hit a new high of 2,299.55 before ending 0.80% higher to 2,298.37.

Midstream and master limited partnerships still dominated gains in the energy sector. However, going in the other direction, Plains All American Pipeline LP declined 2.12% in robust trading to end at $31.47. CEO Greg Armstrong said during a conference call that the $1.2 billion acquisition of the Alpha Crude Connector puts the partnership in "the best of the best" region of the Delaware Basin.

Armstrong said Plains would acquire 515 miles of gathering and transmission lines and five interconnects as part of the deal and intends to add three more interconnects to its northern Delaware system, raising its capacity to about 350,000 barrels per day. "This is a dynamic system with multiple delivery points," he said.

Shares of Williams Partners LP picked up 2.76% on above-average volume to close at $40.95, and Williams Cos. Inc. climbed 1.16% in below-average trading to finish at $28.81.

New York is close to overplaying its hand and losing for all states the authority to issue Clean Water Act permits after the state blocked the Williams Partners-backed Constitution natural gas pipeline project, Williams Cos. President and CEO Alan Armstrong said.

In other midstream stocks, Sanchez Production Partners LP rose 4.07% in light trading to settle at $14.05, Cheniere Energy Inc. spiked 5.65% on almost three times the normal trading volume to close at $48.23 and Energy Transfer Partners LP added 4.41% on heavy volume to finish at $38.63. The SNL Midstream Energy Index took in 1.42% to 126.59.

AltaGas Ltd. earned 0.57% to C$33.32 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, while WGL Holdings Inc. ended 0.23% down to $78.78. After the market's close, the companies announced a merger valued at $6.4 billion in cash.

Gas and electric utilities closed trading slightly in the red, with the SNL Gas Utility Index falling 0.16% to 537.89 and the SNL Electric Company Index shedding 0.13% to 419.85. Among electric utilities, Portland General Electric Co. retreated 1.12% in average trading to $43.33, Westar Energy Inc. dropped 0.92% on thin volume to $54.64 and El Paso Electric Co. saw a dip of 0.55% in above-average trading to $45.25.

In other power stocks, Dynegy Inc. earned 4.62% in active trading to $9.97. Shortly after markets closed, the company announced that its subsidiary Illinois Power Generating Co. received confirmation for its Chapter 11 reorganization plan from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.

Coal remained on the positive side of the ledger with the SNL Coal Index ascending 0.84% to 79.48. Among components, CNX Coal Resources LP closed up 2.72% on slightly higher-than-average volume to $18.90, Natural Resource Partners LP gained 4.17% on average volume to $38.70 and Westmoreland Coal Co. rose 2.67% in below-average trading to $18.47.

February natural gas futures moved higher in short covering Wednesday, Jan. 25, as the contact nears expiration at the close of business Friday, Jan. 27. The contract moved from a $3.255/MMBtu low to a $3.353/MMBtu high and finished the day 5.3 cents higher at $3.332/MMBtu.

Stocks to watch

On Jan. 25, American Electric Power Co. Inc. will report its fourth-quarter results before market hours, while 8point3 Energy Partners LP will post its fourth-quarter earnings after market hours. AEP dipped 0.40% in below-average trading to $62.53, while 8point3 Energy Partners increased 0.56% in light trading to $14.45.

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