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Thursday's Energy Stocks: Sector advances, Chesapeake up 8% on Utica Shale deal

The earnings-heavy Thursday, July 26, saw all energy indices in positive territory while broader markets ended mixed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.44% to settle at 25,527.07, while the S&P 500 closed the day 0.30% lower to 2,837.44.

Shares of Marathon Petroleum Corp. jumped 7.28% on heavy volume to end at $80.16. The company recorded net income of $1.06 billion, or $2.27 per diluted share, beating the S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized estimate of $2.04 per share. During an earnings call, executives expressed optimism that the company's pending acquisition of Andeavor would enable it to continue its strategy of returning cash "beyond the needs of the business" to shareholders. Andeavor closed the day 6.01% higher in about average trading to settle at $148.96.

Valero Energy Corp. rose 6.86% in active trading to close at $116.83, following the release of its second-quarter earnings. The company posted adjusted net income of $928 million, or $2.15 per share, beating the S&P Capital IQ consensus normalize estimate of $1.96 per share. Company executives said in a conference call that they had no immediate plans to increase their dividend.

ConocoPhillips climbed 0.41% on strong volume to finish at $71.80, after reporting adjusted earnings of $1.29 billion, or $1.09 per share, which met the S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized estimate. The company also lifted its 2018 capital expenditure guidance from $5.5 billion to $6 billion, citing cost inflation.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC's class A shares dropped 3.67% to close at $67.76, and its class B shares slumped 4.36% to $70.17, both on brisk volume, after the company's second-quarter earnings results overshadowed its announced share buyback program of at least $25 billion from 2018 to 2020.

Excluding certain items, on a current cost of supplies basis, the company's attributable income rose 30% on the year to $4.69 billion, but missed the S&P Capital IQ consensus mean estimate of $5.98 billion.

EQT Corp. declined 1.97% in robust trading to finish at $54.34, after reporting $116.3 million, or 44 cents per share, in adjusted net income for the second quarter, beating the S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized estimate of 38 cents per share. The company also announced a $500 million stock buyback program, effective immediately.

MPLX LP advanced 2.12% on heavy volume to close at $36.54. The partnership posted second-quarter adjusted EBITDA of $867 million, higher than the S&P Capital IQ consensus adjusted EBITDA estimate of $815.5 million. President Michael Hennigan said in an earnings call that the partnership's strategic goal to develop its presence in West Texas' Permian Basin could soon include crude oil transportation infrastructure.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. rose 8.64% in after-market trading as of about 6 p.m. ET to $4.78, after announcing that it agreed to sell its entire operating position in the dry gas Utica Shale in Ohio for $2 billion. Chesapeake closed the Thursday trading 0.23% down to $4.40.

The S&P 500 Energy Index added 0.99% to close at 569.12, while the Alerian MLP Index rose 1.13% to settle at 280.92.

Among electric and diversified utilities, shares of PG&E Corp. saw an increase of 3.98% in heavy trading to close at $44.70, after the company posted non-GAAP earnings from operations of $601 million, or $1.16 per share, beating the S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate of 94 cents per share by 22 cents. During an earnings call, PG&E executives told analysts that a comprehensive reform to address mounting wildfire costs is essential if California utilities are to maintain capital spending for electric infrastructure.

Xcel Energy Inc. advanced 2.60% in brisk trading to end at $46.88, after reporting second-quarter ongoing and GAAP earnings of $265 million, or 52 cents per share, surpassing the S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate of 47 cents. Xcel Energy Chairman, President and CEO Ben Fowke thinks that Colorado regulators have plenty of reasons to support the ambitious renewable energy plan proposed by Xcel's subsidiary, Public Service Co. of Colorado.

NextEra Energy Partners entered into a distribution agency agreement to potentially offer up to $150 million worth of its common units from time to time. The partnership earned 3.58% on strong volume to close at $46.88.

American Electric Power Co. Inc. shares were up 2.39% to $71.04 on heavy volume as Texas regulators declined to grant needed permits for the company's proposed 2,000-MW Wind Catcher wind energy project.

The S&P 500 Utilities Sector closed up 1.14% to 267.99.

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