Atmos Energy Corp (ATO): Today's Featured Utilities Winner

Atmos Energy ( ATO) pushed the Utilities sector higher today making it today's featured utilities winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 1.3%. By the end of trading, Atmos Energy rose 27 cents (0.8%) to $33.12 on average volume. Throughout the day, 652,072 shares of Atmos Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 474,300 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $33.10-$33.93 after having opened the day at $33.80 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $32.85. Other companies within the Utilities sector that increased today were: Korea Electric Power ( KEP), up 4.7%, Delta Natural Gas Company ( DGAS), up 3.9%, Huaneng Power International ( HNP), up 3.5%, and U.S. Geothermal ( HTM), up 2.3%.

Atmos Energy Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the distribution, transmission, and storage of natural gas in the United States. It operates in three segments: Natural Gas Distribution, Regulated Transmission and Storage, and Non Regulated. Atmos Energy has a market cap of $2.94 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.5, above the average utilities industry P/E ratio of 16.7 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 1.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there is one analyst that rates Atmos Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Atmos Energy as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its attractive valuation levels, considering its current price compared to earnings, book value and other measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the negative front, China Hydroelectric Corporation ( CHC), down 24.4%, GreenHunter Energy ( GRH), down 11.6%, Active Power ( ACPW), down 9.5%, and Clean Energy Fuels Corporation ( CLNE), down 6.4%, were all losers within the utilities sector with NextEra Energy ( NEE) 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).

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