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Friday's Energy Stocks: Utilities drag sector; Dynegy leads merchant rally

Shares declined among midstream companies and utilities dragged the sector into negative territory on Friday, Aug. 4, while merchant generators stayed afloat. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.30% at 22,092.81, and the S&P 500 added 0.19% to close at 2,476.83. The SNL Energy Index lost 0.30% to end the week at 291.89.

Power producers closed the trading week on the positive side of the ledger as the SNL Merchant Generator Index advanced 1.46% to 98.64. In the lead was Dynegy Inc., which rose 5.20% on brisk volume to finish at $8.49, after it booked second-quarter adjusted EBITDA of $240 million, compared to $187 million in the second quarter of 2016. Following the upward trend, NRG Energy Inc. added 1.96% in light trading to close at $24.45, and First Solar Inc. settled 1.44% higher at $47.98.

Among other power companies that released second-quarter earnings, Spark Energy Inc. spiked 8.05% on average volume to close at $20.80, Alliant Energy Corp. was flat in below-average trading to close at $41.09, Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. shed 1.29% in active trading to close at C$14.59 and Vistra Energy Corp. lifted 2.97% on thin volume to close at $16.66.

Sempra Energy ticked up 1.00% on below-average volume to close at $117.19, after reporting adjusted earnings of $276 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, compared to $200 million, or 79 cents per diluted share, a year ago. The company announced that the Cameron LNG export project on the coast of western Louisiana will not enter service until 2019.

Southwestern Energy Co. shares climbed 1.15% in active trading to finish at $5.28. The company reported second-quarter adjusted income of 8 cents per share, missing Wall Street estimates of 16 cents per share in adjusted profits, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Among other midstream companies, Buckeye Partners LP lost 1.62% to close at $61.39, QEP Resources Inc. gained 5.31% to end at $7.93, while Archrock Partners LP plunged 12.26% to settle at $13.21, all in robust trading. Archrock Partners priced an underwritten public offering of 4,000,000 common units representing limited partner interests in the partnership at $13.75 per common unit.

National Fuel Gas Co. rose 1.86% in active trading to close at $59.16, after it reported fiscal third-quarter 2017 consolidated net income of $59.7 million, or 69 cents per share, compared to $8.3 million, or 10 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. The company said it hopes the new commissioners at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could expedite the approval process for its delayed Northern Access 2016 natural gas pipeline project.

The SNL Midstream Energy Index decreased 0.61% to 113.42 and the SNL Gas Utility Index finished up 0.45% to close out the week at 596.91.

Posting its third straight losing session, NYMEX September natural gas futures continued to unravel Friday, Aug. 4, as traders looked ahead to lackluster weather forecasts that imply healthier storage rebuilding in August. After spending the whole day in the red, the front-month September contract closed the week 2.6 cents lower on the day at a new five-month low of $2.774/MMBtu.

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