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Thursday's Energy Stocks: First Solar dives on downgrade; merchant generators tumble

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Thursday's Energy Stocks: First Solar dives on downgrade; merchant generators tumble

First SolarInc. shed 9.75% in heavy volume to end at $44.34 on Thursday, July7, after Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. downgraded shares of the company to "hold"from "buy" and slashed its price target to $44 from $80.

The downgrade was driven by a slower-than-expected ramp inbookings, a likely pause in demand ahead of the series 5 ramp, and potentialincrease in pricing pressure driven by an aggressive bidding environment fromdevelopers in international segments.

"Even though FSLR remains one of the best run companiesin our coverage, we believe it would be difficult for management to growearnings amidst some of the expected near term headwinds," Deutsche Bankanalyst Vishal Shah noted.

Among other merchant generators, dropped 3.99% inbelow-average trading to C$3.13 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, declined 2.18%in weak volume to $30.56 and PatternEnergy Group Inc. lost 1.31% in active trading to $23.43.

The SNL Merchant Generator Index retreated 2.07% to 93.61.

Electric utility stocks traded lower across the board.Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc.dropped 3.23% in strong volume to $32.01 after reports of acquiringits utilities turned out to be unfounded.

Exelon Corp.decreased 2.54% in below-average volume to $35.70 after the of its plan toretire the Quad Citiesnuclear plant in Illinois by June 1, 2018.

NextEra EnergyInc. slid 1.96% in about average trading to $128.33, after itssubsidiary Florida Power &Light Co. receivedapproval from Florida regulators to defer until 2018 customer charges for twoproposed nuclear reactors at the TurkeyPoint facility.

August natural gas futures finished lower July 7 in spite ofa storage injection that once again failed against expectations and historicalaverages. While ticking up to a $2.841/MMBtu intraday high, the contractstumbled and finished0.9 cent lower at $2.777/MMBtu.

EnterpriseProducts Partners LP gained 0.17% in light volume to $28.92 afterboosting itsquarterly cash distribution to 40 cents per common unit, or $1.60 per unit onan annualized basis.

Questar Corp.dipped 0.67% in above-average volume to $25.03, following the that its CFO, KevinHadlock, is taking a leave of absence, effective immediately, for personalreasons. Hadlock intends to leave the company after the acquisition of thecompany by Dominion Resources Inc.concludes. Dominion shed 1.84% in roughly average volume to $77.47.

The SNL Midstream Energy Index lost 0.16% to 113.38, and theSNL Gas Utility Index declined 1.70% to 530.20.

In the coal sector, AllianceResource Partners LP fell 7.72% to $16.73, dipped6.91% to $16.31 and WestmorelandCoal Co. retreated 6.74% to $9.13.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.13% to 17,895.88,and the S&P 500 dipped 0.09% to 2,097.90.

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