Sempra Energy (SRE): Today's Featured Utilities Laggard

Sempra Energy ( SRE) pushed the Utilities sector lower today making it today's featured Utilities laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.3%. By the end of trading, Sempra Energy fell 70 cents (-1%) to $68.07 on average volume. Throughout the day, 928,691 shares of Sempra Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.2 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $67.71-$69.20 after having opened the day at $69.06 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $68.77. Other company's within the Utilities sector that declined today were: Huaneng Power International ( HNP), down 4%, TransAlta Corporation ( TAC), down 3.2%, AES ( AES), down 2.6%, and Ocean Power Technologies ( OPTT), down 2.4%.

Sempra Energy operates as an energy services holding company worldwide. The company operates utilities, develops new energy infrastructure, and provides energy-related services to approximately 31 million consumers worldwide. Sempra Energy has a market cap of $17.04 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.8, above the average utilities industry P/E ratio of 12.8 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 25% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are four analysts that rate Sempra Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and four rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Sempra Energy as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the positive front, U.S. Geothermal ( HTM), up 3%, GenOn Energy ( GEN), up 2.7%, and RGC Resources ( RGCO), up 1.6%, were all gainers within the utilities sector with Duke Energy Corporation ( DUK) being today's featured utilities sector leader.

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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