Saturday, September 29, 2012

Shares of Chevron, First Solar Heat Up Sector

Energy stocks rose Friday to cap off a winning week, as crude-oil futures teased the $100-a-barrel level and investors again embraced the Federal Reserve’s latest stimulus plan for the U.S. economy

The NYSE Arca Oil Index (XX:XOI) sustained recent gains with a rise of 1% to 1,307, its highest closing level in about six months.

Earlier this week, the index of oil producers and refiners moved into positive territory for 2012, but it’s still trading below its highest closing point for the year — 1,346, set March 1.

Among the other major benchmarks tracking the energy sector on Friday, the NYSE Arca Natura Gas index (XX:XNG) rose 1% and the Philadelphia Oil Service Index (US:OSX) moved up by 1.7%.

In energy futures, crude for October delivery (US:CLV2) rose to an intraday high of $100.42 a barrel in electronic trade, then settled at $99 a barrel, up 69 cents, in regular trading. See Futures Movers for more on oil prices.

Shares of ExxonMobil Corp. (US:XOM) rose 1.2%, while Chevron Corp. (US:CVX) advanced by 0.6%, having set a 52-week high earlier in the session. The two oil and natural-gas producers are components of the 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average (US:DJIA), which rose 70 points.

The Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (US:XLE) rose 1.3%. The fund includes energy stocks in the S&P 500 index (US:SPX).

Among that group, First Solar (US:FSLR) jumped nearly 9% in the latest in a series of big moves from the solar power plant builder. See related story about First Solar.

Alpha Natural Resources (US:ANR) rose 3.9% as the coal mining firm benefitted from a move into the materials sector. See related Market Extra story.

Also moving up, Marathon Oil Corp. (US:MRO) jumped 4.2% and Pioneer Natural Resources (US:PXD) drove up by 3.6%.

Among companies in the spotlight, Halliburton (US:HAL) continues to look for a seven-inch stainless steel cylinder containing a “sealed radiation source” used in oil and gas well sites, a company spokeswoman said Friday.

The cylinder was discovered missing en route between two well sites near Pecos and Odessa, Texas, the company said. Spokeswoman Beverly Blohm Stafford said in an email to MarketWatch that the company didn’t have an update on the status of the search as of 9:15 a.m. Eastern.

Halliburton said the cylinder is clearly marked “danger radioactive do not handle notify ... civil authorities if found.” It also shows a radiation warning symbol.

In a statement on Thursday, Halliburton said teams are searching with sensitive equipment. The company notified the Texas Department of State Health Services Radiation Control Program.

Among stocks on the move, small cap BioFuel Energy Corp. (US:BIOF) rallied 40% to $8.98 a share. The stock has been rising since hedge fund firm Greenlight Capital, which is controlled by David Einhorn, disclosed Sept. 6 that it acquired more shares of the company.
Energy stocks up for the week

Riding optimism around the latest stimulus moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the NYSE Arca Oil Index (XX:XOI) closed a 1,307 on Friday, above its week-ago ending point of 1,260.

The NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index (XX:XNG) ended at 691 on Friday, well above its week-ago close of 660.

The Philadelphia Oil Service Index (US:OSX) closed at 241 on Friday, compared to its closing level of 229 on Sept. 7.


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