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Thursday's Energy Stocks: With dim outlook for 2019, Canadian Solar plummets 18%

Canadian Solar Inc. plunged 18.37% on nearly 7x average volume to close Thursday trading at $19.28. The company announced that revenues in the first quarter will likely fall by at least two-thirds year over year even as the global solar market enters what is expected to be a period of considerable growth.

Broader markets returned to positive territory on March 21, a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve decided to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged and signaled that there will be no interest rate hike in 2019.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.84% to finish at 25,962.51, while the S&P 500 spiked 1.09% to settle at 2,854.88.

Canadian Solar Chairman, President and CEO Xiaohua "Shawn" Qu said sales will slow as the company works on factory and technology system upgrades, and the appreciation of the Chinese yuan against the U.S. dollar creates what is likely to be a "sizeable" foreign-exchange loss. Qu encouraged investors to "look into 2020 rather than dwell [on] 2019."

For the fourth quarter of 2018, Canadian Solar reported adjusted net income attributable to the company of $99.5 million, or $1.61 per share.

Sunworks Inc. shares declined 5.03% on average volume to end at 47 cents. The company received an extension of an additional 180 calendar days, or until Sept. 16, from Nasdaq to regain compliance with the exchange's $1 minimum bid price listing requirement.

Other solar companies that closed the day with losses include JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd., which lost 9.00% in robust trading to close at $19.61; SunPower Corp., which dropped 3.13% on light volume to end at $6.50; and Vivint Solar Inc., which retreated 2.09% in active trading to settle at $5.15.

Among electric and diversified utilities, Edison International closed up 2.67% in light trading to $64.98, NRG Energy Inc. added 2.02% on slim volume to $43.37, and AES Corp. picked up 1.95% on below-average volume to finish the day at $18.28.

The S&P 500 Utilities Sector edged 1.05% higher to 294.63.

In the oil and gas sector, Murphy Oil Corp. saw a 0.81% increase in brisk trading to finish at $30.97, after its subsidiary signed a deal with a unit of Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production Public Co. Ltd. to sell its Malaysian subsidiaries for $2.13 billion.

Murphy will likely use some of the proceeds from the divestiture of Malaysian assets to support aspirations to expand its North American presence on land and offshore.

SM Energy Co. advanced 5.04% in light trading to close at $17.29. The company expects lower Permian Basin natural gas sales for March, but kept its first-quarter production guidance of 10.5 million barrels of oil equivalent to 10.9 million boe.

The S&P 500 Energy Sector was up 0.69% to 497.92, while the Alerian MLP Index picked up 0.88% to 259.26.

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