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3 Stocks Pushing The Utilities Sector Lower

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

The Utilities sector as a whole closed the day down 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which was up 0.2%. Laggards within the Utilities sector included American DG Energy ( ADGE), down 2.7%, Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras ( EBR.B), down 3.1%, Ocean Power Technologies ( OPTT), down 11.0%, Niska Gas Storage Partners ( NKA), down 2.8% and Consolidated Water ( CWCO), down 2.6%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks that pushed the sector lower today:

Niska Gas Storage Partners ( NKA) is one of the companies that pushed the Utilities sector lower today. Niska Gas Storage Partners was down $0.44 (2.8%) to $15.04 on average volume. Throughout the day, 146,544 shares of Niska Gas Storage Partners exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 118,200 shares. The stock ranged in price between $15.01-$15.73 after having opened the day at $15.55 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $15.48.

Niska Gas Storage Partners LLC owns and operates natural gas storage assets in North America. Niska Gas Storage Partners has a market cap of $567.5 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 4.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Niska Gas Storage Partners a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Niska Gas Storage Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company has favored debt over equity in the management of its balance sheet.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on NKA go as follows:

  • NKA's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 3.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 104.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS continued to lose money by earning -$0.24 versus -$0.63 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.95 versus -$0.24).
  • The gross profit margin for NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS is currently very high, coming in at 75.18%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 4.70% trails the industry average.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.28 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, NKA maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.75, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Niska Gas Storage Partners Ratings Report

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