CenterPoint Energy Inc (CNP): Today's Featured Utilities Leader

CenterPoint Energy ( CNP) pushed the Utilities sector higher today making it today's featured utilities leader. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, CenterPoint Energy rose 23 cents (1.1%) to $21.15 on average volume. Throughout the day, 4.7 million shares of CenterPoint Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.8 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $20.82-$21.18 after having opened the day at $20.89 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $20.92. Other companies within the Utilities sector that increased today were: Distribution and Marketing Company of the N ( EDN), up 11.9%, Transportadora de Gas del Sur ( TGS), up 3%, Active Power ( ACPW), up 2.4%, and EQT ( EQT), up 2%.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc. operates as a public utility holding company. CenterPoint Energy has a market cap of $8.95 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.7, above the average utilities industry P/E ratio of 6.6 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 4.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are four analysts that rate CenterPoint Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and nine rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates CenterPoint Energy as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity and solid stock price performance. 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, Consolidated Water Company ( CWCO), down 3.6%, Energy Company of Parana ( ELP), down 3.5%, U.S. Geothermal ( HTM), down 2.9%, and Ocean Power Technologies ( OPTT), down 2.8%, were all laggards within the utilities sector with Northeast Utilities ( NU) being today's utilities sector laggard.

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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