Stocks Roundup: MBII, SWY, VLO, ACMP, EXLP

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Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (NASDAQ:MBII), a global provider of bio-based pest management and plant health products, said its Venerate Bioinsecticide has received federal registration from the EPA.

BMII was up about 5% in Monday’s session, hitting a session high of $15.21 and trading in a 52-week range of $12.27 to $20.00.

The insecticide controls a broad spectrum of pests and will be sold into a wide variety of crop segments.

Venerate is the first product from the company’s in-house discovery screen to be registered.

Food retailer Safeway Inc (NYSE:SWY) is up 1.9% to $38.17 per share after sources close to the situation say Kroger (KR) is about to buy some of the company’s assets.

In regards to their interest, sources state Kroger has also contacted Cerberus Capital Management LP, owner of the Albertsons supermarket chain and the lead private-equity firm in the bidding for Safeway.

Splitting off some of SWY’s assets to Kroger could alleviate potential anti-trust objections in select markets where conflicts could delay the potential sale of Safeway.

KR moved into positive territory following the news and is now up 0.21% at $42.03 per share.

Energy stocks were extending their losses in late Monday trading with the NYSE Energy Sector Index sinking over 0.9% while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 were down about 0.8% as a group. Crude oil for April delivery was up $2.42 at $105.00 per barrel while March natural gas shed 14 cents today to $4.48 per 1 million BTU.

In company news, Valero Energy Corp (VLO) shares were fractionally higher in late Monday trading and the refining and marketing company today saying Bill Klesse will step down in May after eight years in charge of the largest U.S. refinery company.   Chief Operating Officer Joe Gorder – promoted to his current post in May 2012 – was selected to succeed Kleese, who will remain board chairman at the company.

VLO shares were up 0.5% at $48.21 in late trade, climbing to a session high of $49.07 a share. The stock has a 52-week range of $33.00 to $53.64 a share.   In other sector news,   (+) MCEP, Acquires five oil properties in Oklahoma and Texas for around $41.0 mln. Deal is expected to immediately boost distributable cash flow. Funds purchase with $7.0 mln in borrowings and $34.0 mln from the sale of 1.5 mln common units.   (-) CHK, Confirms sale of $37 mln of its midstream compression assets to Access Midstream Partners (ACMP) and Exterran Partners (EXLP) for $520 mln. Expects the deal to have minimal impact on its 2014 cash flow guidance.

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