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Energy Stocks Still Higher Nearing Market Close

Energy stocks eased slightly from their earlier highs with the NYSE Energy Sector Index rising about 1.7% in late trade while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 were ahead nearly 1.8% as a group. Crude oil for April delivery settled 62 cents higher at $102.82 per barrel while March natural gas shed 39 cents today to finish at $4.62 per 1 million BTU.

In company news, Noble Energy (NYSE:NBL) was up more than 4% in late Monday trading after KLR Group began coverage of the oil and gas company with a Buy rating and a price target of $91 a share. Shares were up 4.2% at $69.64 apiece in recent trade, climbing as high as $70.50 a share during today’s session. The stock has a 52-week range of $52.62 to $78.01 a share.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), Said it is pursuing strategic alternatives for Chesapeake Oilfield Services, its oilfield services division, including a potential spin-off to CHK shareholders or an outright sale.

Magnum Hunter Resources Corp (NYSE:MHR), Shares hit new 52-week high, only to turn sharply lower after Q4 revenue doubles over year-ago levels but still trails analyst forecasts by over 8%. Adjusted net loss of $0.14 per share came in $0.07 less than expected.