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AmeriGas Partners LP (APU): Today's Featured Utilities Winner

AmeriGas Partners (APU) pushed the Utilities sector higher today making it today's featured utilities winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 1.2%. By the end of trading, AmeriGas Partners rose 31 cents (0.8%) to $40.01 on light volume. Throughout the day, 97,263 shares of AmeriGas Partners exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 216,900 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $39.63-$40.26 after having opened the day at $39.69 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $39.70. Other companies within the Utilities sector that increased today were: Niska Gas Storage Partners (NKA), up 9.8%, Delta Natural Gas Company (DGAS), up 4.1%, and Transportadora de Gas del Sur (TGS), up 3%.

AmeriGas Partners, L.P., through its subsidiary, AmeriGas Propane, L.P., operates as a retail and wholesale distributor of propane gas in the United States. AmeriGas Partners has a market cap of $3.73 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.9, below the average utilities industry P/E ratio of 36.9 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 12.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there is one analyst that rates AmeriGas Partners a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and three rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates AmeriGas Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, feeble growth in the company's earnings per share and disappointing return on equity.

On the negative front, China Hydroelectric Corporation (CHC), down 7.9%, Clean Energy Fuels Corporation (CLNE), down 5.8%, Targa Resources (TRGP), down 4.2%, and Active Power (ACPW), down 3.9%, were all losers within the utilities sector with Exelon (EXC) being today's utilities sector loser.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the utilities sector could consider Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) while those bearish on the utilities sector could consider ProShares UltraShort Utilities (SDP).

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