American Electric Power Co Inc (AEP): Today's Featured Utilities Winner

American Electric Power ( AEP) pushed the Utilities sector higher today making it today's featured utilities winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.4%. By the end of trading, American Electric Power rose 31 cents (0.8%) to $38.51 on light volume. Throughout the day, 2.8 million shares of American Electric Power exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of four million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $38.20-$38.70 after having opened the day at $38.21 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $38.20. Other companies within the Utilities sector that increased today were: Dynegy ( DYN), up 7.7%, Huaneng Power International ( HNP), up 3.7%, Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras ( EBR), up 3.1%, and Ellomay Capital ( ELLO), up 2.6%.

American Electric Power Company, Inc., a public utility holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power to retail customers. It generates electricity using coal and lignite, natural gas, nuclear energy, and hydroelectric energy. American Electric Power has a market cap of $18.63 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.6, above the average utilities industry P/E ratio of 9.4 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 7.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are seven analysts that rate American Electric Power a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Electric Power as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, notable return on equity and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally poor debt management on most measures that we evaluated.

On the negative front, Transportadora de Gas del Sur ( TGS), down 7.9%, Distribution and Marketing Company of the N ( EDN), down 6.9%, China Hydroelectric Corporation ( CHC), down 6.4%, and Delta Natural Gas Company ( DGAS), down 4.4%, were all losers within the utilities sector with Atlas Energy ( ATLS) 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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