National Fuel Gas Company (NFG): Today's Featured Utilities Loser

National Fuel Gas Company ( NFG) pushed the Utilities sector lower today making it today's featured Utilities loser. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.8%. By the end of trading, National Fuel Gas Company fell 23 cents (-0.5%) to $45.80 on light volume. Throughout the day, 443,964 shares of National Fuel Gas Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 674,700 shares. The stock ranged in price between $45.65-$46.56 after having opened the day at $46.45 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $46.03. Other company's within the Utilities sector that declined today were: Distribution and Marketing Company of the N ( EDN), down 7.6%, Ocean Power Technologies ( OPTT), down 7.5%, China Hydroelectric Corporation ( CHC), down 3.9%, and Delta Natural Gas Company ( DGAS), down 3.3%.

National Fuel Gas Company operates as a diversified energy company in the United States. National Fuel Gas Company has a market cap of $3.84 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.1, equal to the average utilities industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 17.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are three analysts that rate National Fuel Gas Company a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates National Fuel Gas Company as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the positive front, Dynegy ( DYN), up 14.8%, U.S. Geothermal ( HTM), up 12.8%, NRG Energy ( NRG), up 4.6%, and Huaneng Power International ( HNP), up 3.3%, were all gainers within the utilities sector with Dominion Resources ( D) being today's featured utilities sector winner.

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).
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