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Wednesday's Energy Stocks: Williams, ETE shares rise amid merger drama

advanced4.59% in below-average volume to end at $15.49 on Wednesday, April 6, aftersuing andits leader, Kelcy Warren, over a March private offering that Williams saidthreatens the merger agreement between the two pipeline majors.

Despitecrying foul on the offering, Williams saysits board is unanimously committed to completing the deal, which valued itsshares at $43.50 apiece in September and included a $6 billion cash component.The slump in crude oil prices and pressure on midstream stocks have since sentthe value of both companies tumbling. The acrimonious relationship between thecompanies has led to doubt about the deal's viability.

ETEclimbed 7.60% in average trading to close at $6.94.

fell 10.17% inheavy trading to close at 31 cents after entering an agreement with unit holders forrestructuring negotiations.

TheSNL Midstream Energy Index gained 2.72% to 94.38.

gained 9.82%in weak trading to close at $1.23 after again negotiations with the trusteeof its 7.875% senior notes due 2021. The extension, which runs through April12, comes a week after the partnership's last deadline passed.

Amongother coal stocks, Cloud PeakEnergy Inc. lost 0.55% in thin trading to close at $1.81,CONSOL Energy Inc.climbed 1.28% also in weak trading to end at $11.08, and advanced 4.17% inlight volume to end at $2.25. The SNL Coal Index lifted 1.46% to 38.81.

rose 0.12% inbelow-average trading to finish at $103.20. A California Public UtilitiesCommission judge has recommendedthat the regulator reject the North-South gas pipeline expansion projectplanned by Sempra Energy utilities.

AdministrativeLaw Judge Karl Bemesderfer disputed whether the project, which would involvelinking Sempra's northern and southern gas systems, would improve reliabilitythe way Southern California GasCo. and San Diego Gas& Electric Co. said it would.

dropped 0.68%in weak trading to end at $79.36, after a North Carolina judge a lawsuit involving threeDuke Energy coal ash sites.

WakeCounty Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway on April 4 approved a settlement DukeEnergy reached last year with environmental groups tied to closing the basinsat its H.F. Lee, Cape Fear and W.H. Weatherspoon plants in the eastern part ofNorth Carolina. The order grants utility subsidiary 's motion forpartial summary judgment in the case.

touched a 52-weekhigh of $55.30 and finished the trading day up 0.02% to $55.27.

Maynatural gas futures extended lower at midweek as participants view weather asan albatross through the shoulder season. The front-month contract sunk to a$1.897/MMBtu intraday low, but reversed some losses to Wednesday, April 6, at$1.911/MMBtu, lower by 4.3 cents.

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