between the two nations. Europe appears to be facing a severe shortage heading into the winter heating season and will need U.S. liquified natural gas (LNG) to meet demand.
Energy stocks continued to show relative strength in the third quarter. The sector was one of only two in the S&P 500 to generate a positive return, rising 2.4% during the period. For the first nine months of 2022, the sector’s return of 34.9% has outperformed the broad Index by almost 60 percentage points. The Materials sector declined 7.1% during the most recent quarter and is essentially inline with the S&P 500 for the nine-month period. Our Fund, with exposure to both Energy and Materials, posted returns on net asset value (NAV) of 1.0% for the quarter and 19.1% year to date. Returns on market price were 0.4% and 19.5% respectively.
Our holdings in the Refining and Marketing industry group added the most relative value in the third quarter, followed closely by the Storage and Transportation group. The Integrated Oil & Gas group was a modest detractor. Our Materials holdings declined for the quarter but were essentially flat on a relative basis.
Refiners experienced strong positive estimate revisions in the third quarter and were the best performing group in the Energy sector, posting a 7.8% return. Our holdings in this industry group returned 10.1%, led by our overweight position in Marathon Petroleum, which increased 21.5% after posting strong second-quarter earnings backed by strong cash flow generation. The company continues to reward shareholders with a rising dividend and a large, ongoing share-buyback program.
In the Storage and Transportation group, the leading contributor was Cheniere Energy, the largest U.S. LNG production and transmission company. Cheniere benefited from higher LNG prices and surging export opportunities to Europe, rising 25.0% during the third quarter. The company expects to raise its annual dividend 20% this year, and to have more than $20 billion of available cash for payouts and investments through 2026. Our underweight positions in midstream service provider ONEOK and natural gas processor Williams Companies also bolstered relative performance.
Our Integrated Oil & Gas holdings modestly lagging the benchmark’s return during the quarter. Cenovus Energy was the largest relative detractor. Calgary-based Cenovus, whose shares hit an eight-year high in June 2022, was impacted by the Canadian dollar’s weakness against the U.S. dollar despite a surge in year-over-year profits for the second quarter. Suncor, another Canadian oil producer, also declined for the quarter and weighed modestly on relative returns.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2022, the total return on the Fund’s net asset value (“NAV”) per share (with dividends and capital gains reinvested) was 19.1%. This compares to a total return of 19.7% for the Fund’s benchmark,