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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery added 69 cents to $40.70 on the New York Merc, while Brent for October added 28 cents to $44.43 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $10.15 to WTI, unchanged. Natural gas for September, after rocketing up 30 cents yesterday, added a further nine cents to $2.19. The TSX energy index added 2.75 points to close at 77.63.
It was not a bankruptcy, but neither was it a pleasant way to come out of a long weekend. The big energy news of the day was of course BP's decision to halve its dividend for the first time in a decade, to 5.25 U.S. cents from 10.5 U.S. cents on a quarterly basis, following a record quarterly loss of $16.8-billion (U.S.). The London-based energy giant follows in the footsteps of Equinor and Royal Dutch Shell in cutting its dividend to cope with the downturn.
Meanwhile, closer to home, U.S. shale producer Range Resources Corp. (U:RRC) announced that it is selling shale gas assets in Louisiana for less than one-10th of what it paid for them four years ago. Range bought the assets in 2016 through the takeover of Memorial Resource for $4.2-billion (U.S.). Now it will sell them to Castleton Resources for just $245-million (U.S.), with the potential for a further $90-million (U.S.) depending on commodity prices. The $335-million (U.S.) valuation works out to less than a dime on the dollar. Even so, it will alleviate some of the pressure on Range's balance sheet, awash in $3.16-billion (U.S.) of debt. Investors seemed pleased about that if nothing else. Range's stock, which was worth nearly $47 (U.S.) when the Memorial deal was announced in 2016, today added 47 U.S. cents to $7.68 (U.S.).
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