Top Energy Stocks
Energy stocks were falling to start the new week, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index declining about 0.1% while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 were down slightly more than 0.4% as a group. Crude oil for August delivery was down 31 cents at $44.68 per barrel while July natural gas futures were 14 cents lower at $2.90 per 1 million BTU.
In company news, Southwestern Energy ( SWN ) fell Monday, with shares of the oil and natural gas producer receiving little apparent help today from a favorable jury verdict late Friday in federal court rejecting a class-action lawsuit alleging the company underpaid royalty payments owed to certain property owners in Arkansas.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit heard in U.S. District Court consisted of most of the owners in Arkansas leasing their properties to the company, who argued Southwestern underpaid them by improperly deducting gathering and transportation costs from their royalties prior to payment, according to a regulatory filing by the company today as well as in prior filings.
Friday's verdict remains subject to post-trial motions before a final judgment is entered by the court. The company also is being sued in Arkansas state court in two class-action cases but today said it does not expect those cases to have a material effect on its future financial results or operations.
In other sector news,
(+) RICE, (+26.7%) Agrees to $6.7 bln in cash and stock buyout offer from EQT ( EQT ), which will exchange 0.37 of its share and $5.30 a share in cash for each Rice share. EQT also will assume or refinance $1.5 bln of Rice debt and preferred stock. Deal also includes some of Rice's pipeline and midstream assets. A Q4 close is expected.
(-) NADL, (-2.8%) Receives one-well contract beginning in April 2018 with a minimum $7 mln backlog for Seadrill's ( SDRL ) semi-submersible West Hercules drillship to test an appraisal well in the Cambo discovery in the United Kingdom.