Energy Sector Update for 03/15/2018: EQT,E,STO,SND

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Energy stocks were falling this afternoon, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index dropping nearly 0.9% while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 were down more than 0.6% as a group. Crude oil for April delivery settled 25 cents higher at $60.96 per barrel in New York while the benchmark Brent crude April contract climbed 22 cents to $65.11 per barrel. April gas futures also fell 6 cents to $2.73 per 1 million BTU. Among energy-related ETFs, United States Oil was up over 0.5% while United States Natural Gas was down nearly 2.0%. The Philadelphia oil-service sector index was down over 2.8%.

In industry news:

U.S. natural gas inventories fell by 93 billion cubic feet during the seven days ended March 9 week to 1,532 billion cubic feet, down 718 billion cubic feet from a year ago, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration. It was the seventeenth weekly drawdown of the current heating season and exceeded the 53 billion-cubic-foot decrease during the same week last year. Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts had been looking for a drawdown of 100 billion cubic feet last week.

Among energy stocks moving on news:

- EQT Corp ( EQT ) dropped over 7% to a session low of $48.60 a share after the natural gas producer Thursday said Steven Schlotterbeck has resigned as president and chief executive officer, citing personal reasons. Schlotterbeck also stepped down from the EQT board of directors as well as his positions with EQT GP Holdings LP ( EQGP ), EQT Midstream Partners LP ( EQM ) and Rice Midstream Partners LP ( RMP ). Former EQT board chairman David Porges was named interim CEO and president during the search for a permanent replacement. The company Thursday also said it remains confident about its operational prospects and it reaffirmed its FY18 financial guidance issued on Feb. 15.

In other sector news

+ American depository shares of Italian energy major Eni SpA ( E ) was edging higher Thursday, climbing about 0.4% to a session high of $34.18 per ADS, after saying production from the offshore Nooros natural gas field in Egypt reached 32 million cubic meters per day, marking the company's largest output in 50 years to around 215,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The increase follows the recent launch of the company's NW-7 well, with production expected to climb even higher in June when its 14th well is slated for completion.

- Norwegian energy major Statoil (STO) was fractionally lower, falling less than 1%, amid reports it is preparing to soon change its name to Equinor, reflecting its commitment to become a broad-based energy company rather than only focusing on oil. In a video posted on social media and viewed by Reuters, Statoil said the upcoming switch shows the company's determination to invest in renewable energy, with the combination of "equi", the starting point for words like equal, equality and equilibrium, and "nor" for Norway. "Reflecting on the global energy transition and how we are developing as a broad energy company, it has become natural to change our name," Statoil CEO Eldar Saetre said in prepared remarks.

- Smart Sand (SND) retreated Thursday, retracing much of a 13% fall earlier in the session that followed the oilfield-services company reporting a smaller Q4 profit compared with year-ago levels. On a GAAP basis, the supplier of sand used for hydraulic fracturing of oil and natural gas wells earned $0.27 during the final three months of 2017, down from $0.40 during the same quarter in 2016 but still beating the Capital IQ consensus looking for a $0.15 per share GAAP profit. Revenue grew to $43.0 million from $29.5 million last year and also exceeding the $41 million analyst mean.

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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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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