Sector Update: Energy

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Energy stocks are set to start higher this morning with President Obama last night voicing strong supporting for hydraulic fracturing -- more commonly known as fracking -- during his State of the Union address in a call for an "all-out effort" to expand natural gas extraction, creating as many as 600,000 new U.S. jobs by the end of the decade.

Crude oil is lower, with the March contract for light, sweet crude down 73 cents at $98.26 per barrel. Natural gas continues to gain after reaching a 10-year low last week, with natural gas for February delivery up 8.1 cents to $2.635 per 1 million British Thermal Units. The EIA weekly inventory reports are due out with analysts in a Dow Jones Newswires survey, on average, expecting crude oil stocks rose by 700,000 barrels last week as refiners modestly trimmed operations.

In earnings news, Norfolk Southern ( NSC ) was lower in late trading yesterday after beating consensus calls for Q4 earnings by $0.02, posting a $1.42 per share profit, but misseds on revenues despite a 16.9% year over year increase to $2.8 billion. Analysts, on average, were expecting $2.83 billion in revenues, according to Capital IQ/Briefing.com. Coal revenues were 24% higher than a year ago, rising to $850 million during Q4.

A slew of energy producers are scheduled to report earnings today with Hess ( HES ) projected for a $1.30 EPS, ConocoPhillips ( COP ) seen earning $1.89 a share and Occidental Petroleum ( OXY ) anticipated by analysts to produce a $1.97 a share profit in announcement all due out this morning. Murphy Oil is slated to report tonight, with analysts expecting net income of $1.40 a share, up from $0.90 last year.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: COP , HES , NSC , OXY

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