Industry Update: Energy stocks ease slightly towards Wednesday’s close

Energy stocks gave back some of their earlier gains this afternoon, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index climbing 0.6% late in the session and the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF (XLE) up 0.7% .

The Philadelphia Oil-Service Sector Index was up 1.7% and the Dow Jones US Utilities Index was up 0.2%.

First-month West Texas Intermediate crude stood $0.30 higher at $89.66 a barrel after the Energy Information Administration reported a surprise 4.8 million barrel drop in commercial supplies the last week against market expectations for an increase of 1.5 million barrels for the seven days ending February 1. 4. Global benchmark Brent crude rose $0.85 to $91.63 a barrel, while Henry Hub natural gas futures fell $0.24 to $4.01 per 1 million of BTUs.

In company news, Evolution Petroleum (EPM) added 2.3% after the exploration and production company announced on Wednesday its purchase of natural gas assets in the Jonah field in Wyoming for 29, $4 million from the private partnership Exaro Energy III. The deal is expected to close by April 1.

Shares of Equinor (EQNR) rose 1.8% after the Norwegian energy major increased its 2022 share buyback program to $5 billion from $1.2 billion, including shares to be repurchased from the Norwegian State.

Cameco (CCJ) rose more than 14% after the uranium miner reported fourth-quarter non-GAAP net income of C$0.06 ($0.05) per share, down from C$0.12 per share in the prior year quarter, but still tops Capital IQ’s average estimate expecting C$0.01 per share earnings. It also approved a 2022 dividend of C$0.12 per share, up 50% from its previous distribution to investors.

Liberty Oilfield Services (LBRT) fell 5.1% after posting a net loss of $0.31 per share in the fourth quarter, improving on its loss of $0.41 per share in the year-ago period , but still missing the consensus of Capital IQ which expects a loss of $0.17 per share. Revenue grew more than 165% year-over-year to $683.7 million, which was also lower than Street View’s $687.5 million.

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