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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery gained 50 cents to $64.30 on the New York Merc, while Brent for March gained 61 cents to $69.87 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $25.05 to WTI ($39.25), unchanged. Natural gas for February gained 12 cents to $3.20. The TSX energy index closed up a fraction to 200.32.
Alberta natural gas producer Peyto Exploration and Development Corp. (PEY) gained 57 cents to $13.76 on 9.11 million shares, after reducing its monthly dividend to six cents from 11 cents. Peyto, which will pay its final 11-cent dividend on Monday, has been paying this amount since December, 2014. At the time, with the company's shares trading around $34, the dividend represented a yield of about 4 per cent. Now, with the stock at the $13 level, the 11-cent dividend represents an uncomfortably high yield of 9.5 per cent. Reducing the payout to six cents draws the yield back down to 5 per cent. Peyto will be saving $98.92-million a year on dividend payments.
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