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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.

Trade-Ideas LLC identified




) as a strong on high relative volume candidate. In addition to specific proprietary factors, Trade-Ideas identified NorthWestern as such a stock due to the following factors:

  • NWE has an average dollar-volume (as measured by average daily share volume multiplied by share price) of $14.7 million.
  • NWE has traded 404,237 shares today.
  • NWE is trading at 64.53 times the normal volume for the stock at this time of day.
  • NWE is trading at a new high 5.02% above yesterday's close.

'Strong on High Relative Volume' stocks are worth watching because major volume moves tend to indicate underlying activity such as M&A events, material stock news, analyst upgrades, insider buying, buying from 'superinvestors,' or that hedge funds and momentum traders are piling into a stock ahead of a catalyst. Regardless of the impetus behind the price and volume action, when a stock moves with strength and volume it can indicate the start of a new trend on which early investors can capitalize. In the event of a well-timed trading opportunity, combining technical indicators with fundamental trends and a disciplined trading methodology should help you take the first steps towards investment success.

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More details on NWE:

NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as NorthWestern Energy, provides electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska, the United States. It operates through Electric Operations and Natural Gas Operations segments. The stock currently has a dividend yield of 3.9%. NWE has a PE ratio of 17. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates NorthWestern a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

The average volume for NorthWestern has been 230,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. NorthWestern has a market cap of $2.3 billion and is part of the utilities sector and utilities industry. The stock has a beta of 0.63 and a short float of 4.9% with 7.98 days to cover. Shares are down 12.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Quant Ratings

rates NorthWestern as a


. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Multi-Utilities industry. The net income increased by 12.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $45.58 million to $51.43 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. 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.
  • NORTHWESTERN CORP's earnings per share declined by 6.8% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. 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, NORTHWESTERN CORP increased its bottom line by earning $2.99 versus $2.45 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.18 versus $2.99).
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $126.80 million or 12.97% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, NORTHWESTERN CORP's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 38.77%.

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