Energy stocks are broadly higher with the NYSE Energy Sector Index climbing 1.3% while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 are ahead 1.8% as a group. Crude oil for October delivery rose $1.11 to settle at $104.99 per barrel. September natural gas was up 9 cents at $3.55 per 1 million BTU.
In company news, Williams' Cos. Inc ( WMB ) is up 3.2% in late trade at $35.96 a share after its board of directors approved an 3.9% increase in its quarterly dividend over the prior quarter to $0.36625 per share, payable Sept. 30 to shareholders of record on Sept. 13.
The Q3 dividend is 17.2 percent higher than the year-ago amount. The company also reaffirmed 2013-2015 guidance expecting 20% annual dividend growth.
In other sector news,
(+) ZAZA, CEO Todd A. Brooks buys 1.5 million shares of the company's common stock in a private placement priced at 92 cents each.
(+) MRO, Raised to Outperform at Raymond James, citing valuation, "robust" cash flow.
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