Energy stocks eased slightly from their best levels of the day, finishing mostly higher Monday with the NYSE Energy Sector Index rising 0.5% while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 were ahead 0.8% as a group. Crude oil for August delivery reversed its earlier losses to finish 8 cents higher at $100.91 per barrel while August natural gas was little changed at $4.15 per 1 million BTU.
In company news, Weatherford International ( WFT ) was up more than 3% in late trading Monday afternoon after the oilfield-services company said it was selling its land-rig operations in Russia and Venezuela to Rosneft Oil Co ( OJSCY ) for $500 million in cash.
The Russian rig operations include around 7,800 employees working on 61 land drilling crews and a fleet of workover rigs while the company had six additional land rigs and 375 workers in Venezuela. WFT said it expects to further develop its core business in Russia through joint commitments with OJSCY.
WFT shares were ahead just under 3% at $22.47 apiece in recent trade, after earlier reaching an intra-day high of $22.68 a share. The stock has a 52-week range of $13.07 to $23.25 a share, declining 23.6% over the past 12 months.
In other sector news,
(+) GRH, Settles on West Virginia's northern panhandle as destination for its pipeline connecting to Marcellus Shale formation in the state and Pennsylvania, the Wheeling, W.V., Intelligencer reports, citing GRH's vice president of business operations.
(+) WLL, Rises to a record high after announcing plans to acquire Kodiak Oil and Gas ( KOG ) for $6 bln in stock and assumed debt, creating the largest oil and gas producer in North Dakota's Bakken/Three Forks formations. KOG also hits all-time high.
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