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Energy Sector Update for 02/21/2018: LNG,EQT,EQM,RMP,EQGP,HFC

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XOM -0.41%

CVX -1.00%

COP -1.02%

SLB -0.87%

OXY -0.63%

Energy stocks continued to lose ground this afternoon, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index edging more than 0.7% lower while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 were down about 0.9% as a group. Crude oil for April delivery settled 22 cents higher at $61.90 per barrel in New York while the benchmark Brent crude April contract fell 36 cents to $64.89 per barrel. March natural gas futures rose 6 cents to $2.62 per 1 million BTU. Among energy-related ETFs, United States Oil was down almost 0.7% while United States Natural Gas was up slightly more than 0.5. The Philadelphia oil-service sector index was up less than 0.1% in late trade.

In industry news:

The price of West Texas Intermediate rose Wednesday afternoon, reversing prior declines ahead of inventory data due out later this afternoon and again on Thursday morning. The American Petroleum Institute will issue its weekly report on crude oil supplies during the seven days ended Feb. 16 at 4:30 p.m. ET while the U.S. Energy Information Administration is scheduled to release its weekly petroleum status report at 10:30 a.m. ET tomorrow. Both reports are being issued a day later than usual because of the Presidents' Day holiday. Crude futures prices have drifted about 7% lower since peaking above $66 per barrel earlier this month as rising U.S. production levels have kept worries over potential supply gluts simmering. The recovery for the U.S. dollar against other currencies also was working to underpin oil prices . "The firmer dollar over the last three sessions has introduced a sell-into-rallies theme, at least for now," Action Economics said in a research report Tuesday, also noting that speculative net long exposure also has been running at or near record highs."

Among energy stocks moving on news:

- Cheniere Energy ( LNG ) turned lower Wednesday afternoon, giving back a 1.5% gain to a session high of $58.86 a share earlier in the session that followed the liquified natural gas supplier reporting better-than-expected Q4 net income and sales, underpinned by rising global LNG demand. The company earned $0.54 per share during the three months ended Dec. 31, improving on a $0.48 per share profit during the same quarter last year and beating the Capital IQ consensus by $0.03 per share. Revenue more than trebled to $1.75 billion from $572 million during the year-ago perod and also topping the $1.54 billion analyst mean.

In other sector news

+ EQT Corp ( EQT ) was trading higher Wednesday, easing somewhat from a nearly 4% gain earlier in the session, that followed the natural gas producer and transmission company announcing plans to separate its upstream and midstream businesses and creating a new, stand-alone publicly traded corporation consisting of EQT's pipeline and gathering assets. EQT is expecting the split will qualify as a tax-free transacion under federal tax law, with shareholders receiving pro-rated shares of the new company in addition to retaining their existing stock, and should be completed by the end of September. Under the proposal, EQT also will drop-down its retained midstream assets in an accretive transaction to EQT Midstream Partners ( EQM ) and merging it with Rice Midstream ( RMP ) and selling Rice's incentive distribution rights to EQT GP Holdings ( EQGP ).

- HollyFrontier (HFC) declined Wednesday, dropping over 8% to an intra-day low of $45.98 a share, after the petroleum refinery company reported lower-than-expected net income although its revenue topped analysts' forecasts. Excluding one-time items and changes in U.S. tax law, HollyFrontier earned $0.70 per share, reversing a $0.06 per share net loss during the same quarter last year and trailing the Capital IQ consensus by $0.13 per share. Revenue rose to $3.99 billion from $2.96 billion during the year-ago period, exceeding the $3.85 billion analyst mean.

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

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