Shares of Duke Energy Corp. spiked up as much as 4.8% in midday trading, before paring gains to be up 0.7%, after The Wall Street Journal reported that activist investor Elliott Management Corp. is urging the electric utility to separate into three companies. The stock was the best performer among components of the SPDR Utilities Select Sector ETF , which fell 0.5% in midday trading. The WSJ report said Elliott is seeking seats on Duke’s board of directors, and wants the company to for a committee to explore the possibility of separating into three companies, based on the three major geographies the company serves, which are the Carolinas, Florida and part of the Midwest. The WSU previously reported that Elliott was one of Duke’s 10-largest shareholders. Duke’s stock has gained 13.3% year to date, while utilities ETF has tacked on 4.7% and the S&P 500 has advanced 10.5%.

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