Energy stocks turned narrowly higher this afternoon, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index and the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF (XLE) rising 0.1% each. The Philadelphia Oil-Service Sector index, however, was posting a 0.9% decline but the Dow Jones US Utilities Index was rising 1.0%.
Front-month West Texas Intermediate crude oil was $1.53 higher at $86.96 per barrel while global benchmark Brent crude was advancing $0.84 to $88.35 per barrel. Henry Hub natural gas futures fell $0.25 to $4.03 per 1 million BTU.
In company news, Dow (DOW) was slipping 0.6% after New Hope Energy announced the chemical giant has signed a multi-year offtake agreement to buy pyrolysis oil produced from recycled plastics. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Valaris (VAL) fell 0.2%, giving back an earlier advance that followed the company late Tuesday saying it received two one-well contracts from Murphy Oil (MUR) for its Valaris DPS-5 semisubmersible drill rig in the US Gulf of Mexico and offshore Mexico, respectively.
To the upside, Alliant Energy (LNT) was 0.1% higher, reversing a 1.3% decline earlier Wednesday that followed BofA Securities lowering its stock rating for the electric utility to underperform from neutral.
GeoPark (GPRK) rose 3.8% after the energy company said it produced an average of 37,928 barrels of oil equivalent per day during its just-concluded Q4, down from 39,304 barrels per day during the final three month of 2020 and reflecting lower production in Chile, Brazil and Argentina during the three months ended Dec. 31. It averaged 39,300 barrels per day during 2021.