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Thursday's Energy Stocks: Sector reverses course; Chesapeake Energy tumbles on DOJ subpoena

Bothbroader markets and the energy sector failed to extend in trading onThursday, Sept. 29, closing in red territory. The SNL Energy Index dropped1.11% to 283.12, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.07% to $18,143.45 andthe S&P 500 shed 0.93% to 2,151.13.

tumbled9.33% in more than double average trading to close at $6.12 after that it received aU.S. Department of Justice subpoena for information on its accounting practicesrelated to oil and natural gas leases.

Utilitiesalso underperformed, with DukeEnergy Corp. losing 0.97% in about average trading to finish at$80.31. The company clearedthe final regulatory hurdle in its $6.7 billion acquisition of , afterthe North Carolina Utilities Commission issued an order approving the merger.

"Thiscombination provides clear benefits to our customers and the environment as wecontinue to expand our use of low-cost and clean natural gas and invest inpipelines," Duke Energy Chairman, President and CEO Lynn Good said in anews release. "We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with Piedmont'steam for years, and we are eager to welcome them to Duke Energy in the comingdays."

PiedmontNatural Gas shares lifted 0.05% in about average trading to end at $60.04. ThePhiladelphia Utility Index slid 1.45% to 626.71.

climbed 0.06% to $34.13 and AlgonquinPower & Utilities Corp. gained 0.17% to C$11.88, both in lighttrading, after the Arkansas Public Service Commission Empire's acquisition.

SanfordC. Bernstein & Co. analysts are bullishon three Marcellus Shale drillers in the fourth quarter. As natural gas storagelevels surpass 4 Tcf, and gas equities presumably fall in reaction to theoverabundance, Bernstein has outperform ratings on , andSouthwestern Energy Co.

BuyingWilliams Cos. Inc.and Williams Partners LP,which have huge gathering, processing and transportation activities inAppalachia, is another way to play the price spike, analysts Jean Ann Salisburyand Bob Brackett said.

CabotOil & Gas fell 0.08% to $25.47 in heavy trading; Range Resources declined2.74% to $37.56 in above-average trading; Southwestern Energy lost 1.64% to$13.20 on average volume; and Williams shed 1.97% to $30.39 and WilliamsPartners dipped 0.97% to $37.86, both in below-average activity.

Amongcoal stocks, Alliance ResourcePartners LP slid 1.12% in light trading to close at $22.03,Foresight Energy LPdipped 2.36% on above-average volume to finish at $4.10 and declined4.36% in active trading to end at $27.39. The SNL Coal Index lost 1.12% to70.20.

Novembernatural gas futures climbedto a $3.032/MMBtu high in their debut session as the lead contract, but driftedback lower and closed the trading day 4.3 cents lower at $2.959/MMBtu.

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