Energy stocks were narrowly mixed Wednesday, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index rising about 0.3% while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 recently were down about 0.1% as a group. Crude oil for February delivery was up 76 cents at $53.09 per barrel while February natural gas futures were five cents lower at $3.28 per 1 million BTU.

In company news, Encana Corp (ECA,ECA.TO) shares rose Wednesday after the Canadian natural gas producer today revised its forecast for year-over-year FY17 production growth from its core four assets, now anticipating production should be near the top, or possibly exceed, its prior forecast looking for a 15% to 20% increase by the end of 2017 compared with the three months ended Dec. 31, 2016.

The company also is expecting its corporate margin this year to exceed $10 per equivalent barrel of oil, based on an assumed average price of $55 per barrel for West Texas Intermediate crude and $3.00 per 1 million BTU of natural gas at the New York Mercantile Exchange. Encana will issue its finalized FY17 budget and guidance when it reports Q4 financial results on Feb. 16.

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