NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE: NWN) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strongest point has been its expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Northwest Natural Gas Company stores and distributes natural gas in Oregon, Washington, and California. The company operates in two segments, Local Gas Distribution and Gas Storage. The Local Gas Distribution segment distributes natural gas in Oregon and southwest Washington. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.2, equal to the average utilities industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 22.6. Northwest Natural Gas has a market cap of $1.2 billion and is part of the utilities sector and utilities industry. Shares are down 0.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. You can view the full Northwest Natural Gas Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.