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Top Energy Stocks

XOM +1.19%

CVX +0.95%

COP +0.99%

SLB +2.10%

OXY +1.65%

Energy stocks were mostly higher, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index climbing more than 1.1% while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 were up almost 1.2% as a group. West Texas Intermediate crude oil for March delivery was rising $1.07 to $53.48 per barrel at the New York Mercantile Exchange while the global benchmark Brent crude April contract was increasing by $1.24 to $62.75 per barrel. March natural gas futures were 5 cents higher at $2.69 per 1 million BTU. Among energy-related ETFs, the United States Oil fund was advancing about 2% while the United States Natural Gas fund was posting a nearly 1.2% gain. The Philadelphia Oil Service Sector index also was up about 1.5%.

Among energy stocks moving on news:

(+) Newfield Exploration Co ( NFX ) rose nearly 2% after shareholders of the oil and natural gas producer and at Encana Corp ( ECA ) voted for the companies' proposed strategic combination at separate meetings Tuesday. Under terms of the transaction slated to close Wednesday, investors will receive 2.6719 Encana common shares for each Newfield share they now own.

In other sector news:

(+) Nordic American Tanker Ltd ( NAT ) was more than 4% higher on Tuesday after the petroleum shipper said it has negotiated a new, five-year senior secured credit facility valued at $306 million and replacing the company's existing revolving loan package. The new facility will lower Nordic American's interest expense, the company said without providing specifics.

(-) Bristow Group ( BRS ) dropped almost 35% to a worst-ever $1.94 a share after reporting a material weakness in its financial controls that could result in the oilfield-services company reclassifying its long-term debt into short-term liabilities and also casting doubt on its ability to continue as a going concern. Bristow and privately held Columbia Helicopters Tuesday also said they have "mutually agreed" to terminate Bristol's $560 million buyout proposal.

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