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Tuesday's Energy Stocks: Coal, midstream enjoy gains as Trump keeps promises

Trading on Tuesday, Jan. 24, ended on a high note as the Dow Jones Industrial Average continued its pursuit of the 20,000 target and the S&P 500 also inched higher. Coal and midstream stocks led the sector-wide rally, as President Donald Trump followed up on promises during his campaign to streamline approval of oil and gas infrastructure projects.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average bounced up 0.57% to 19,912.71, the S&P 500 reaped 0.66% to 2,280.07 and the SNL Energy Index gained 0.97% to 285.23.

TransCanada Corp. took in 3.54% on more than four times normal trading volume to close at $48.84, and Energy Transfer Partners LP advanced 3.50% in robust trading to finish at $37.00 after Trump signed executive actions to facilitate the construction of the C$8 billion Keystone XL and the $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipelines.

"This is about streamlining the incredibly cumbersome, long, horrible permitting process and reducing regulatory burdens for domestic manufacturing," Trump said while signing the orders. Following Trump's invitation, TransCanada expressed plans to resubmit its application for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

In other midstream stocks, Magellan Midstream Partners LP earned 3.22% to $77.01 and Plains All American Pipeline LP moved up 3.14% to $32.15, both in active trading.

Their joint venture BridgeTex Pipeline Co. LLC announced plans to expand its pipeline system's capacity for crude oil deliveries from the Permian Basin to points in the Houston Gulf Coast area to 400,000 barrels per day from 300,000 bbl/d.

Alliant Energy Corp. slid back 0.22% to close at $36.95 and SCANA Corp. shed 0.83% to finish at $69.72, both on slightly higher-than-average volume, after Macquarie Capital (USA) Inc. downgraded both companies to "neutral" from "outperform" and lowered their 2019 EPS estimates.

Among utilities, Southern Co. dipped 0.53% in brisk trading to $48.57, Exelon Corp. edged down 0.48% on below-average volume to $35.13 and Otter Tail Corp. rose 2.54% in below-average trading to $38.35. The SNL Electric Company Index saw a 0.17% increase to 420.38.

Continuing their previous day's rally, coal companies outpaced other energy equities as the SNL Coal Index added 3.53% in gains to 78.81.

Peabody Energy Corp. soared 23.60% to close at $2.20, after disputing multiple objections of investors and government agencies in a lengthy defense of its bankruptcy reorganization plan. Peabody insisted its plan is currently the only one that provides a certain and timely exit from the bankruptcy case.

Shares of CNX Coal Resources LP climbed 3.08% on below-average volume, closing at $18.40. The company announced its intention to file a universal shelf registration statement on Form S-3 with the SEC after filing an annual report on a Form 10-K for 2016.

In other coal stocks, Westmoreland Coal Co. jumped 10.71% in above-average trading to finish at $17.99, Cloud Peak Energy Inc. lifted 7.12% on weak volume to end at $5.57 and Alliance Holdings GP LP picked up 3.21% in light trading to settle at $27.96.

February natural gas extended gains Tuesday, Jan. 24, on the back of revised weather outlooks that offer some demand support in the eight- to 14-day period. Overall gains were modest and capped by the expectation of a pullback in the rate of storage withdrawals in this week's inventory report, and with the likelihood that the largest storage withdrawals have already been booked. The contract climbed to a $3.350/MMBtu high, but settled just 3.6 cents higher on the day at $3.279/MMBtu.

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