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Major Movers on January 30; CHK, HES, CPNO, KMP, AMZN

Shares of Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK), a natural gas and oil exploration and production company, are soaring in trading today after the company announced its CEO succession plan.

CHK, on Tuesday, said that its co-founder, CEO and President, Aubrey K. McClendon agreed to retire from the company on April 1, 2013. McClendon will continue to serve as CEO until a successor is appointed, the company said in a statement.

CHK shares rose to an intra-day high of $21.20 in trading today. At last check, the stock was trading 5.59% higher at $20.03 on above average volume of 36.05 million.

Shares of Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES), a global integrated energy company, are down in trading today after the company reported its fourth-quarter financial results.

For the fourth quarter of 2012, HES reported net income of $566 million, compared to a net loss of $131 million reported for the same period in the previous year. The company’s exploration and production earnings for the quarter were $517 million, compared to $527 million reported for the same period in the previous year. Oil and gas production in the fourth quarter was 396,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, compared to 367,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day reported for the same period in the previous year.

Shares of Copano Energy LLC (NASDAQ: CPNO), an energy company engaged in the business of providing midstream services to natural gas producers, are seeing a huge rally in trading today after the company agreed to be acquired by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners L.P. (NYSE: KMP).

Under the terms of the agreement, Kinder Morgan will acquire all outstanding units of CPNO for a total purchase price of approximately $5 billion.

R. Bruce Northcutt, President and CEO of Copano, said that the company is excited to have reached the agreement with KMP, which delivers significant premium to its unitholders. Northcutt added that through the transaction, the company will become part of a larger, investment grade organization with stable cash flows and financial resources to fund its increasing number of high-return growth projects.

Kinder Morgan Chairman and CEO Richard D. Kinder, meanwhile, said that as a result of the acquisition, KMP will be able to pursue incremental development in the Eagle Ford Shale play in south Texas, gain entry into the Barnett Shale Combo in north Texas and the Mississippi Lime and Woodford Shales in Oklahoma.

KMP shares are down in trading today. At last check, the stock was trading 1.94% lower at $87.92 on above average volume of 1.18 million. The stock fell to an intra-day low of $87.05 earlier today.

Shares of Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), the world’s largest online retailer, have risen sharply even as the company reported weaker-than-expected results for the fourth quarter. The company also gave a weak outlook for the first quarter.

At last check, AMZN shares were trading 5.40% higher at $274.40 on above average volume of 7.80 million. The stock hit an intra-day high of $284.20 earlier today. Despite the sharp rise, AMZN shares are down 3.3% ib the last three trading sessions.

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