Energy Investors Appear Relieved That Clinton Has Been Cleared - Again

The energy sector was booming on the S&P 500 early Monday as oil prices rallied and political fears subsided after the FBI said it closed, again, its  investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's private emails. 

West Texas Intermediate crude contracts for December delivery were up almost 1% and back above $44 per barrel after plummeting nearly $5, or 9.5%, last week on concerns over a production cut agreement from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC. 

The S&P 500 index was up around 2% midday Monday, as FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers Sunday in a letter to Congress that nothing new had been unearthed in new batch of Clinton emails found on the laptop former Congressman Anthony Weiner shared with his estranged wife Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide. 

Comey said the new emails gave the FBI no reason to reverse its earlier recommendation that Clinton not face charges related to her handling of classified documents on a private email server. 

Clinton has been long viewed as Wall Street's preferred presidential candidate, but the latest FBI headlines had given the Street a scare heading into election week. 

Nevertheless, with the emails issue behind the Democratic nominee once again, and surging oil prices thanks to OPEC's reaffirmed commitment to cut output later this month, energy stocks were among the biggest market gainers. 

Oil and natural gas producers were up about 2.5% on the S&P 500 on Monday, while integrated oil majors ExxonMobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) were both up around 2%. 

Southwestern Energy (SWN) (up about 4.3%), Chesapeake Energy (CHK) (up about 3.9%) and Range Resources (RRC)  (up about 3.8%) were among the biggest E&P gainers.

Meanwhile, independent oil refiners also were trending up almost 2% on the day, with Marathon Petroleum (MPC) and Phillips 66 (PSX) sporting the greatest gains. 

Oil and natural gas infrastructure operators Williams (WMB) and Kinder Morgan (KMI) were also in the green, up around 2.5% and 1.5%, respectively. 

And shares of oilfield services providers Halliburton (HAL) , Schlumberger (SLB) and Baker Hughes (BHI) were along for the ride, climbing between 1% and 2% in morning trading. 

Industry followers have noted in recent weeks that neither Hillary Clinton or her opponent, Republican nominee Donald Trump, are expected to be major game changers for the oil and gas industry

Still, Hillary Clinton is seen by some as more of a pragmatist, meaning she might be less likely to attempt to change the status quo for U.S. oil and gas drillers. 

Monday's market momentum may be evidence that as the energy industry begins to get its footing two years into a prolonged commodity downturn, an industry wide shakeup at the hands of politicians may not be a settling notion for investors.  

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