6. American States Water ( AWR), a holding company, purchases, distributes and sells water.
Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the company to report earnings of 46 cents per share for 2010 fourth quarter, compared to 18 cents and 30 cents per share reported for the year-ago and quarter-ago periods, respectively. For the full year, analysts foresee the company reporting earnings per share of $1.89 for 2010, $2.17 for 2011 and $2.30 for 2012, in comparison to earnings of $1.62 per share reported for 2009. At $33.7, the stock is trading at a lower price-to-earnings multiple of 17.7, compared to its peers. Aqua America, Artesian Resources, SJW, and Pennichuck ( PNNW) are trading at PE multiples of 25.8, 18.4, 24.8 and 33.6, respectively. In addition, American States Water's EV-to-EBITDA ratio of 7.8 is below that of its competitors. Of the five analysts covering the stock, one recommends buying, three rate holding and one suggests selling. The stock's average price target, based on analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, is $39.5, about 17% higher than the current level.