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3 Stocks Moving The Utilities Sector Upward

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.

All three major indices traded up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 18 points (0.1%) at 16,572 as of Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, 3:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,374 issues advancing vs. 630 declining with 131 unchanged.

The Utilities sector as a whole closed the day up 0.2% versus the S&P 500, which was up 0.3%. Top gainers within the Utilities sector included Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras ( EBR.B), up 1.7%, Pure Cycle ( PCYO), up 1.5%, Delta Natural Gas ( DGAS), up 1.6%, Connecticut Water Service ( CTWS), up 1.8% and Niska Gas Storage Partners ( NKA), up 3.1%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

Delta Natural Gas ( DGAS) is one of the companies that pushed the Utilities sector higher today. Delta Natural Gas was up $0.30 (1.6%) to $19.88 on light volume. Throughout the day, 5,796 shares of Delta Natural Gas exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 39,200 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $19.57-$19.89 after having opened the day at $19.59 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $19.57.

Delta Natural Gas Company, Inc. distributes or transports natural gas. It operates in two segments, Regulated and Non-Regulated. The Regulated segment is engaged in the distribution and transmission of natural gas to retail customers in 23 rural counties. Delta Natural Gas has a market cap of $136.1 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 12.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Delta Natural Gas a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Delta Natural Gas as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on DGAS go as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 9.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 29.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • DELTA NATURAL GAS CO INC has improved earnings per share by 19.4% 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 two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, DELTA NATURAL GAS CO INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.05 versus $0.85 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.19 versus $1.05).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Gas Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 21.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $4.24 million to $5.17 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 63.45% to $20.56 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, DELTA NATURAL GAS CO INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -20.24%.
  • DGAS's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Despite the fact that DGAS's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 1.59 is high and demonstrates strong liquidity.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Delta Natural Gas Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.
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