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Monday's Energy Stocks: Oil price spike, 2nd debate send stocks up across the board

The energy sector posted gains higher than Wall Street atmarket close on Monday, Oct. 10, after the second presidential faceoff the night before. Republicannominee Donald Trump argued that the U.S. energy industry is "under siege,"while Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton emphasized the need for the country toremain energy independent.

The SNL Energy Index advanced 1.13% to 276.59, the Dow JonesIndustrial Average rose 0.49% to 18,329.04 and the S&P 500 gained 0.46% to2,153.74.

Oil prices spiked on Oct. 10, sending stocks rising, afterRussia gave its nod to join OPEC in curbing crude output, Reuters reported.Brent crude oil hit one-year highs of $53.73 a barrel while U.S. West TexasIntermediate crude peaked at $51.60, its highest since June 10, according tothe report.

Duke EnergyCorp. earned 0.64% in below-average trading to settle at $77.06,after announcing that it will sellits Brazilian holdings to ChinaThree Gorges Corp. for about $1.2 billion in cash and assumed debt."This is another important step forward in driving our strategy to focuson our core domestic regulated business, and it builds on our recentacquisition of Piedmont NaturalGas Co. Inc.," Duke Energy CEO and Chairman Lynn Good said.

Guggenheim Securities LLC viewed the proposed transaction as"very much in line" with their $1.1 billion valuation of Duke Energy'sBrazilian assets and expects future divestiture of Duke Energy's remainingLatin American assets soon.

Calpine Corp.moved up 4.78% in active trading to close at $13.15, after entering a deal topurchase from Noble Americas Gas &Power Corp. for $800 million, plus an estimated $100 million of networking capital at closing.

Calpine says the deal, expected to close by the end of theyear, will benefit from some $200 million in synergies and runoff of legacyhedges, knocking the total price tag to about $700 million. Citi Research,SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Guggenheim Securities and Morningstar analystsviewed the multipleon the deal as appropriate for retail business acquisitions.

Among other power producers, finished 4.87% higherto $19.59, Dynegy Inc.picked up 4.04% to $13.38, and NRGEnergy Inc. closed up 4.01% to $11.42, all on below-average volume.The SNL Merchant Generator Index advanced 1.64% to 86.47.

Shares of GasNatural Inc. leaped 64.71% in about 80 times the average volume tosettle at $12.65, following the announcement that all of the outstanding sharesof the company will be acquiredby an energy infrastructure investment fund sponsored by .

Under the proposed $196 million deal, Gas Naturalshareholders will receive cash in exchange for their stock and the companyplans to continue to pay a quarterly cash dividend of 7.5 cents per share, aswell as a prorated dividend for any partial period before the deal closing. GasNatural President and CEO Gregory Osborne said becoming a company would cut downadministrative requirements and allow executives to focus more on growth.

Among other gas companies, gained2.87% to $23.31, NorthwestNatural Gas Co. picked up 2.50% to $57.82, and lifted1.78% to $32.10. The SNL Gas Utility Index climbed 1.46% to 482.05.

Reversing earlier losses, November natural gas futuresresumed their ascentin the week's opening session as short covering continued into a sixth straightwinning session to take November gas 8.2 cents higher on the day to$3.275/MMBtu.

Market prices andindex values are current as of the time of publication and are subject tochange.