Top Energy Stocks
Energy stocks extended their afternoon declines, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index about 1.3% while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 were down just under 1.5% as a group. West Texas Intermediate crude oil for April delivery settled 34 cents lower at $56.22 per barrel in New York while the global benchmark Brent crude May contract rose a penny to $65.87 per barrel. April natural gas futures fell 4 cents to $2.84 per 1 million BTU. Among energy-related ETFs, the United States Oil fund was falling more than 0.7% while the United States Natural Gas fund was dropping about 1.3%. The Philadelphia Oil Service Sector index was down over 3.6%.
In industry news:
U.S. crude oil inventories rose more than expected last week, climbing by 7.1 million barrels during the seven days ended March 1, reaching 452.9 million barrels and topping industry opinion expecting a 1.45 million-barrel increase. Gasoline and distillate supplies dropped more than expected, falling by 4.23 million barrels and 2.4 million barrels, respectively. That compares with the S&P Global Platts survey looking for a 1.6 million-barrel decline in gasoline inventories last week and a 1.0 million barrel dip in distillate supplies.
Among energy stocks moving on news:
(+) Vertex Energy ( VTNR ) rose over 2% after the specialty oil products company Wednesday reported a 1.2% year-over-year increase in Q4 revenue to $41.8 million, topping the two-analyst consensus looking $40.3 million in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31. It also narrowed its net loss to $0.23 per share from $0.36 per share during the year-ago period but missed the Street view by $0.01 per share.
In other sector news:
(-) Baytex Energy ( BTE ) slipped 3%, giving back an earlier gain. The Canadian oil and natural producer raised its FY19 adjusted funds flow forecast by 32% over its prior outlook, now expecting around $800 million in funds flow this year compared with its December guidance expecting $605 million.
(-) ExxonMobil ( XOM ) declined Wednesday, falling about 1.8% in recent trade. Citing improvements to its investment portfolio and prospective divestments, the energy major raised its earnings projections through 2025 by an extra $9 billion, now looking for 140% growth over FY17 levels over the next six years compared with its previous forecast expecting a 135% increase by 2025.
(-) Cheniere Energy ( LNG ) declined almost 2% this afternoon, reversing a small gain soon after the opening bell. China Petroleum and Chemical ( SNP ), the Chinese energy major better known as Sinopec, will sign a 20-year liquefied natural gas supply agreement with Cheniere as soon as the US and China resolve their current trade dispute, industry sources told Reuters.