One out of the three major indices traded up today Two out of the three major indices traded up today with the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

(

^DJI

) trading down 0.33 points (0.0%) at 17,403 as of Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, 4:20 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,537 issues advancing vs. 1,563 declining with 108 unchanged.

The Utilities sector as a whole closed the day up 1.2% versus the S&P 500, which was up 0.1%. Top gainers within the Utilities sector included

U S Geothermal

(

HTM

), up 2.5%,

York Water

(

YORW

), up 2.9%,

Middlesex Water

(

MSEX

), up 2.3%,

TransAlta

(

TAC

), up 1.8% and

Atlas Energy Group

(

ATLS

), up 17.5%.

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

Middlesex Water

(

MSEX

) is one of the companies that pushed the Utilities sector higher today. Middlesex Water was up $0.52 (2.3%) to $23.02 on average volume. Throughout the day, 37,022 shares of Middlesex Water exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 33,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $22.42-$23.06 after having opened the day at $22.50 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $22.50.

Middlesex Water Company, through its subsidiaries, provides regulated and unregulated water, and wastewater utility services. The company operates in two segments, Regulated and Non-Regulated. Middlesex Water has a market cap of $367.1 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 1.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates Middlesex Water a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates

Middlesex 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, solid stock price performance and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on MSEX go as follows:

  • MSEX's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 5.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.5%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • MIDDLESEX WATER CO has improved earnings per share by 6.9% 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, MIDDLESEX WATER CO increased its bottom line by earning $1.14 versus $1.03 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.20 versus $1.14).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Water Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 7.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $4.73 million to $5.09 million.
  • The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • 38.58% is the gross profit margin for MIDDLESEX WATER CO which we consider to be strong. Regardless of MSEX's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 16.06% trails the industry average.

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

Middlesex Water Ratings Report

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At the close,

York Water

(

YORW

) was up $0.58 (2.9%) to $20.53 on average volume. Throughout the day, 21,784 shares of York Water exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 26,800 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $19.95-$20.77 after having opened the day at $19.95 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $19.95.

The York Water Company impounds, purifies, and distributes drinking water. It owns and 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 $260.6 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 14.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate York Water a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates

York Water

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, 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:

  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 5.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.1%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displaying stagnant earnings per share.
  • YORK WATER CO reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, YORK WATER CO increased its bottom line by earning $0.89 versus $0.75 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.93 versus $0.89).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Water Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 6.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $2.76 million to $2.93 million.
  • 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. 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

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U S Geothermal

(

HTM

) was another company that pushed the Utilities sector higher today. U S Geothermal was up $0.01 (2.5%) to $0.60 on average volume. Throughout the day, 540,478 shares of U S Geothermal exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 394,300 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $0.56-$0.61 after having opened the day at $0.59 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.59.

U.S. Geothermal, Inc. constructs, manages, and operates power plants that utilize geothermal resources in the Western United States. U S Geothermal has a market cap of $65.3 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 28.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate U S Geothermal a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates U S Geothermal as a

hold

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on HTM go as follows:

  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.13, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders industry. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 3.54 is very high and demonstrates very strong liquidity.
  • 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 45.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $1.34 million to $0.73 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to $4.93 million or 1.88% 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.

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

U S Geothermal Ratings Report

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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.