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Wednesday's Energy Stocks: MLPs rebound

U.S. benchmarks ended lower on Wednesday, March 21, after the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate. In energy, many midstream stocks finished strong.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 0.18% to close the session at 24,682.31, and the S&P 500 declined 0.18% to finish the day at 2,711.93.

Assurances from oil and gas pipeline master limited partnerships may be having the intended impact as the recent sell-off in the sector showed signs of tapering off. Midstream equities including QEP Resources Inc., Crestwood Equity Partners LP, Summit Midstream Partners LP, SemGroup Corp. and Plains All American Pipeline LP saw shares soar during the midweek session.

QEP Resources rallied 8.23% to finish the day at $9.60 on below-average volume, Crestwood Equity Partners gained 4.71% to close at $26.70 on low volume and Summit Midstream stock grew 4.74% to finish an active session at $14.35. SemGroup stock added 4.59% in light trading to finish at $22.80, and Plains All American shares added 4.12% to finish at $21.98 on thin volume.

EQT Corp. announced new leadership following the resignation of CEO Steven Schlotterbeck. EQT Midstream Partners LP's general partner EQT Midstream Services LLC named Jeremiah Ashcroft III as president and CEO.

EQT Corp. shares added 2.12% to finish at $49.54 on thin volume, and EQT Midstream Partners units added 1.68% in heavy trading volume to close at $59.46.

Royal Dutch Shell plc's class A shares climbed 2.04% to close at $63.48 and class B shares grew 2.28% to finish at $64.92, both on brisk volumes. Shell announced plans to generate $6 billion to $7 billion in annual organic free cash flow by 2020 from its downstream unit with oil at $60 per barrel.

Dominion Energy Midstream Partners LP and TC PipeLines LP, however, did not fare as well, with Dominion Midstream down 5.63% to finish at $16.75, and TC PipeLines down 1.86% to end the day at $35.84, both on high volumes.

In power, Dynegy Inc. shares advanced 1.79% to close at $13.11 after a slow day, Ormat Technologies Inc. climbed 1.37% on slightly above-average volume to end at $56.83 and First Solar Inc. added 1.19% on light volume to close at $73.87. 8point3 Energy Partners LP's stock declined 1.41% on light volume to finish at $11.87.

Dominion Energy Inc. and SCANA Corp. shares slipped after Georgia regulators approved their proposed $14.6 billion merger between the companies. Dominion shed 1.18% on above-average volume to finish the day at $67.64, and SCANA shares slid 3.26% to end at $37.42 on slim volume. The deal still faces significant headwinds in South Carolina.

Edison International shares fell 1.29% in light trading to finish at $61.93.

After extending gains early, April natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange reverted back to negative as remaining midrange weather support failed to hold. The contract moved to a $2.708/MMBtu high but slipped to a $2.634/MMBtu low before closing the midweek session with a loss of 3.7 cents at $2.638/MMBtu.

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