Sector Update: Energy
Energy stocks are ending higher today with the NYSE Energy Sector Index gaining around 0.6% while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 are almost 0.7% higher as a group. July crude oil rose 67 cents to settle at $98.44 per barrel while July natural gas added 3 cents and finished at $3.91 per 1 mln BTU.
In company news, Williams Companies ( WMB ) is down about 1.1% to $33.27 a share in late trade, trading underwater after Goldman Sachs dropped the energy and chemical company from its Conviction Buy list and lowered its price target for the stock.
According to reports, Goldman believes last week's explosion at the Geismar chemical plant near Baton Rouge, La., adds material risk to near-term growth of both WMB and its affiliated Williams Partners L.P. ( WPZ ) - putting dividend growth targets at both firms at risk.
The research shop is maintaining a Buy recommendation for the stock but also lowered its price target by $5 to $40 a share.
WPZ shares are down about 0.2% this afternoon, paring its losses shortly before the close.
In other sector news,
(+) WLT, Morgan stanley today reiterates its Overweight rating for the stock and set a $47 a share price target - suggesting as much as a threefold increase in its stock price.
(-) SFL, Files to sell 8 mln shares in an underwritten offering. Net proceeds would be used to invest in new assets in the shipping and offshore sectors as well as for general corporate purposes.