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 0.7% versus the S&P 500, which was unchanged. Laggards within the Utilities sector included

American DG Energy

(

ADGE

), down 4.8%,

U S Geothermal

(

HTM

), down 5.3%,

Gas Natural

(

EGAS

), down 2.3%,

York Water

(

YORW

), down 3.1% and

Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras

(

EBR.B

), down 7.4%.

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

York Water

(

YORW

) is one of the companies that pushed the Utilities sector lower today. York Water was down $0.68 (3.1%) to $21.19 on light volume. Throughout the day, 5,434 shares of York Water exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 25,100 shares. The stock ranged in price between $21.19-$21.93 after having opened the day at $21.93 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $21.87.

The York Water Company is engaged in impounding, purifying, and distributing drinking water. It operates two wastewater collection and treatment systems; and has two reservoirs comprising Lake Williams and Lake Redman, which together hold up to approximately 2.2 billion gallons of water. York Water has a market cap of $283.9 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 4.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates York Water a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

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

TheStreet Ratings rates

York Water

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and increase in stock price during the past year. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on YORW go as follows:

  • YORW's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 7.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.5%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • YORK WATER CO has improved earnings per share by 21.1% 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, YORK WATER CO increased its bottom line by earning $0.75 versus $0.72 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.86 versus $0.75).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Water Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 20.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $2.54 million to $3.07 million.
  • The stock price has risen over the past year, but, despite its earnings growth and some other positive factors, it has underperformed the S&P 500 so far. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

York Water 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.

At the close,

Gas Natural

(

EGAS

) was down $0.26 (2.3%) to $11.14 on average volume. Throughout the day, 53,676 shares of Gas Natural exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 47,100 shares. The stock ranged in price between $11.05-$11.38 after having opened the day at $11.33 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $11.40.

Gas Natural Inc. is engaged in the distribution and sale of natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers. It operates through Natural Gas Operations, Marketing and Production Operations, and Pipeline Operations segments. Gas Natural has a market cap of $119.6 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 42.0% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates Gas Natural a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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

TheStreet Ratings rates

Gas Natural

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, increase in stock price during the past year and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on EGAS go as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 5.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.3%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.65, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.31 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • GAS NATURAL INC has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, GAS NATURAL INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.77 versus $0.48 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 11.7% in earnings ($0.68 versus $0.77).

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

Gas Natural 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.

U S Geothermal

(

HTM

) was another company that pushed the Utilities sector lower today. U S Geothermal was down $0.03 (5.3%) to $0.53 on average volume. Throughout the day, 440,070 shares of U S Geothermal exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 307,200 shares. The stock ranged in price between $0.51-$0.56 after having opened the day at $0.56 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.55.

U S Geothermal has a market cap of $58.2 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 47.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are no analysts who rate U S Geothermal a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

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