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

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

CenterPoint Energy ( CNP) pushed the Utilities sector higher today making it today's featured utilities winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.6%. By the end of trading, CenterPoint Energy rose 24 cents (1.2%) to $20.63 on average volume. Throughout the day, three million shares of CenterPoint Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.1 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $20.30-$20.67 after having opened the day at $20.41 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $20.39. Other companies within the Utilities sector that increased today were: Ocean Power Technologies ( OPTT), up 11.1%, Aqua America ( WTR), up 2.6%, Active Power ( ACPW), up 2.4%, and MGE Energy ( MGEE), up 2.1%.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc. operates as a public utility holding company. CenterPoint Energy has a market cap of $8.71 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.5, above the average utilities industry P/E ratio of 6.4 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 1.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are five analysts that rate CenterPoint Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and eight 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 increase in net income, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, growth in earnings per share and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

On the negative front, Transportadora de Gas del Sur ( TGS), down 3.9%, Empresa Distribuidora y Comercializadora No ( EDN), down 3.8%, Pure Cycle Corporation ( PCYO), down 2.5%, and Korea Electric Power ( KEP), down 2.4%, were all laggards within the utilities sector with EQT ( EQT) 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).

FREE from Real Money's Jim Cramer: Winners and Losers Election 2012 - Steps to take NOW so you can profit no matter who is in charge! Free download now.