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.

Two out of the three major indices are trading lower today with the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

(

^DJI

) trading down 55.52 points (-0.3%) at 17,690 as of Friday, July 31, 2015, 4:20 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,938 issues advancing vs. 1,140 declining with 130 unchanged.

The Utilities sector as a whole closed the day up 0.6% versus the S&P 500, which was down 0.2%. Top gainers within the Utilities sector included

Sky Solar Holdings

(

SKYS

), up 9.0%,

TransAlta

(

TAC

), up 2.3%,

Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners

(

BEP

), up 4.0%,

Atlantic Power

(

AT

), up 2.0% and

California Water Service Group

(

CWT

), up 5.4%.

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

Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners

(

BEP

) is one of the companies that pushed the Utilities sector higher today. Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners was up $1.11 (4.0%) to $28.95 on light volume. Throughout the day, 39,815 shares of Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 53,600 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $27.88-$28.97 after having opened the day at $27.88 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $27.84.

Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners L.P. owns a portfolio of renewable power generating facilities. Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners has a market cap of $7.6 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 10.0% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 5 analysts who rate Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners as a

sell

. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on BEP go as follows:

  • BROOKFIELD RNWBL ENRGY PT-LP 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. The company has suffered a declining pattern earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, BROOKFIELD RNWBL ENRGY PT-LP reported lower earnings of $0.42 versus $0.52 in the prior year.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 60.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $38.00 million to $15.00 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.71 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.49, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, BROOKFIELD RNWBL ENRGY PT-LP underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $232.00 million or 14.70% when compared to the same quarter last year. In conjunction, when comparing current results to the industry average, BROOKFIELD RNWBL ENRGY PT-LP has marginally lower results.

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners Ratings Report

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At the close,

TransAlta

(

TAC

) was up $0.14 (2.3%) to $6.33 on average volume. Throughout the day, 174,606 shares of TransAlta exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 143,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $6.21-$6.35 after having opened the day at $6.22 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $6.19.

TransAlta Corporation operates as a non-regulated electricity generation and energy marketing company in Canada, the United States, and Western Australia. The company's Generation segment owns and operates hydro, wind, and natural gas- and coal-fired facilities. TransAlta has a market cap of $1.8 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 31.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates TransAlta a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates TransAlta as a

sell

. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and generally high debt management risk.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on TAC go as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 67.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $58.00 million to $19.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $153.00 million or 45.16% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.26, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders industry. Despite the fact that TAC's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 0.58 is low and demonstrates weak liquidity.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 40.27%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 83.33% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, TRANSALTA CORP underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

TransAlta Ratings Report

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Sky Solar Holdings

(

SKYS

) was another company that pushed the Utilities sector higher today. Sky Solar Holdings was up $0.74 (9.0%) to $9.00 on light volume. Throughout the day, 7,209 shares of Sky Solar Holdings exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 21,600 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $8.31-$9.00 after having opened the day at $8.64 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $8.26.

Sky Solar Holdings has a market cap of $410.5 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 33.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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.