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Thursday's Energy Stocks: Southern climbs on upgrades; solar stocks record gains

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Thursday's Energy Stocks: Southern climbs on upgrades; solar stocks record gains

Southern Co.climbed 0.90% in active trading to end at $53.61 on Thursday, July 14,following Barclays Capital Inc.'s and Goldman Sachs' of the company.

In light of the recently closed acquisition of AGL ResourcesInc. and the pipeline deal with KinderMorgan Inc., Barclays upgraded Southern to "overweight"from "equal weight," and bumped its price target up $3 to $62.Barclays' new 2016-2018 EPS estimates are $2.86, $3.02 and $3.17, respectively,from $2.88, $3.02 and $3.16.

Goldman reinstated Southern at "neutral," from a "notrated" designation, with a $54 price target implying a 6% total return.Goldman revised its EPS forecast for Southern in 2016, 2017 and 2018 to $2.82,$3.11 and $3.25. Its prior EPS estimates for 2016 and 2017 were $2.88 and $2.90.

"We expect SO, due to a decline in regulated capitalspending and strong cash flows from renewable projects, to see an improvementin free cash flow going forward," Goldman Sachs said in its report.

Kinder Morgan rose 3.41% in strong volume to finish at$20.90.

Sempra Energydipped 0.95% in average volume to finish at $113.05, as the California PublicUtilities Commission rejectedits utilities' proposed North-South gas pipeline expansion project.

Most solar stocks recorded increases, with leading the gains asit advanced 9.45% in above-average volume to settle at $3.01. climbed 3.57% inbelow-average trading to close at $15.38, First Solar Inc. rose 2.49% in thin volume to finish at$47.35, and SolarCity Corpinched 1.78% higher in light trading to end at $24.65.

The SNL Electric Company Index fell 0.58% to 444.72.

AnteroMidstream Partners LP lifted 0.56% in weak volume to end at $26.93after boosting itscash distribution for the second quarter to 25 cents per unit, or $1 per unitannualized. Antero ResourcesCorp. increased its 2017 production growth target to a range of 20%to 25%, which is expected to support Antero Midstream's 2017 distributiongrowth target of 28% to 30%.

SouthwesternEnergy Co. retreated 3.51% in light volume to close at $13.47 afterextending the earlytender period for the purchase of its $750 million of outstanding senior notes.The cutoff for validly tendered notes to be eligible in receiving early tenderpremium has been moved from July 13 to July 15.

MagellanMidstream Partners LP went up 1.08% in weak trading to end at$75.57, after announcingits plans to build a marine terminal for refined petroleum products along theHouston Ship Channel in Pasadena, Texas.

Devon EnergyCorp. shed 1.56% in light trading to finish at $38.39 after agreeingto sell its 50%ownership interest in the Access pipeline to Wolf Midstream for $1.1 billion.

The deal also includes the potential for an incrementalpayment of approximately $120 million with the sanctioning and development of anew thermal oil project on Devon's Pike lease in Alberta. Devon President andCEO Dave Hager said the company has now surpassed its objective of divesting $3billion worth of assets and the "highly-accretive" sale of thecompany's stake in Access puts total sales at $3.2 billion.

The SNL Midstream Energy Index rose 1.14% to 118.62 and theSNL Gas Utility Index lost 0.65% to 533.19.

In the coal sector, CNXCoal Resources LP advanced 3.41% in robust trading to close at$10.00, Natural Resource PartnersLP closed up 3.26% in thin volume to end at $19.35, and ticked1.38% higher in light volume to finish at $22.10. The SNL Coal Index rose 0.75%to 58.11.

August natural gas futures a volatile July 14 trading sessionwith a modest loss. The front-month contract settled the session 1.0 cent lowerat $2.727/MMBtu after fluctuating between gains and losses throughout thesession.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.73% to 18,506.41,and the S&P 500 climbed 0.53% to 2,163.75.

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