Energy stocks were finishing on positive ground Wednesday afternoon, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index climbing 0.7% while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) was little changed. The Philadelphia Oil Service Sector index fell 0.4%; the Dow Jones US Utilities Index gained 0.3%.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil settled $1.42 higher at $82.64 per barrel after the US Energy Information Administration reported a drop of 4.6 million barrels in US inventories in the week ended Jan. 7, compared with market expectations of a decline of 1.9 million barrels last week. Global benchmark Brent crude advanced $0.90 to $84.62 per barrel. Henry Hub natural gas futures soared $0.61 to $4.86 per million BTU.
In company news, Sempra (SRE) shares added 0.3% after the electric and natural gas utility late Tuesday said its Sempra Infrastructure subsidiary closed a $400 million private placement of 3.25% senior notes due 2032.
Valero Energy (VLO) was 0.5% higher, easing from an earlier 1.5% advance to a two-year high, after Morgan Stanley raised its price target for the oil refiner by $8 to $100 a share and reiterated an overweight rating.
Calumet Specialty Products Partners (CLMT) climbed 5.5% after the lubricants producer disclosed plans by its Calumet Finance subsidiary for a $300 million private placement of senior unsecured notes maturing in 2027, with net proceeds to be used to redeem all of its outstanding 7.75% senior notes due 2023.
Sprague Resources (SRLP) rose nearly 11% after the fuel distributor disclosed an unsolicited and non-binding offer from Hartree Partners to acquire the 25.5% of Sprague's limited partnership units Hartree doesn't already own for $16.50 per unit in cash, representing a 6.3% premium over Tuesday's close.