Progress Energy ( PGN) pushed the Utilities sector higher today making it today's featured utilities winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.7%. By the end of trading, Progress Energy rose 45 cents (0.8%) to $53.99 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 4.9 million shares of Progress Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.2 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $53.42-$54.44 after having opened the day at $53.47 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $53.54. Other companies within the Utilities sector that increased today were: Delta Natural Gas Company ( DGAS), up 5.8%, GenOn Energy ( GEN), up 3%, Consolidated Water Company ( CWCO), up 3%, and OGE Energy ( OGE), up 2.9%.

Progress Energy, Inc., a utility holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. Progress Energy has a market cap of $15.79 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 27.2, below the average utilities industry P/E ratio of 27.5 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 4.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are no analysts that rate Progress Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 13 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Progress Energy as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the negative front, Distribution and Marketing Company of the N ( EDN), down 9%, ITC Holdings ( ITC), down 6.5%, Niska Gas Storage Partners ( NKA), down 5.6%, and Pure Cycle Corporation ( PCYO), down 4.8%, were all losers within the utilities sector with Northeast Utilities ( NU) being today's utilities sector loser.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the utilities sector could consider Utilities Select Sector SPDR ( XLU) while those bearish on the utilities sector could consider ProShares UltraShort Utilities ( SDP).