Energy stocks were moderately higher this afternoon, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index and the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF (XLE) both gaining around 0.4%. The Philadelphia Oil-Service Sector index was rising 0.9% but the Dow Jones US Utilities Index was slipping 1.0%.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil was sinking $1.23 to $80.00 per barrel while North Sea Brent crude also was sliding $0.45 to $88.04 per barrel. Henry Hub natural gas futures were $0.03 higher at $6.90 per 1 million BTU.
In company news, Ecopetrol (EC) fell almost 1% after the Columbian energy major overnight said it drew down the entire $1.2 billion available through a credit facility with a group of international banks and will prepay more of a $3.67 billion loan coming due next August it used to fund last year's purchase of a 51.4% stake in the Interconexion Electrica hydro-electric utility. The company now owes just $472 million on the original loan package, it said.
Westport Fuel Systems (WPRT) gained 0.3%. The alternative transportation fuels company Friday said Richard Orazietti will step down Nov. 30 as chief financial officer following the release of its Q3 financial results. William Larkin, who previously was CFO at Westport between 2010 to 2014 and more recently was finance chief at medical imaging company Akumin (AKU), will succeed Orazietti beginning next month, the company said.
Natural Resource Partners (NRP) was rising 1.8% this afternoon after the coal producer late Thursday disclosed plans to redeem its outstanding 9.125% senior notes due 2025, paying 102.281% of their face value.