5 Stocks Pushing The Utilities Sector Lower

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

All three major indices are trading down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 23 points (-0.2%) at 13,146 as of Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, 11:50 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,344 issues advancing vs. 1,517 declining with 152 unchanged.

The Utilities sector currently sits down 0.1% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.3%. A company within the sector that fell today was CPFL Energy ( CPL), up 1.8%. A company within the sector that increased today was Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras ( EBR.B), up 2.4%.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 5 stocks pushing the sector lower today:

5. Northeast Utilities ( NU) is one of the companies pushing the Utilities sector lower today. As of noon trading, Northeast Utilities is down $0.54 (-1.4%) to $38.80 on heavy volume Thus far, 1.3 million shares of Northeast Utilities exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $38.61-$39.26 after having opened the day at $39.04 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $39.34.

Northeast Utilities, a public utility holding company, provides energy delivery services to residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Northeast Utilities has a market cap of $12.5 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.3, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 9.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Northeast Utilities a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Northeast Utilities as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full Northeast Utilities Ratings Report now.

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4. As of noon trading, Dominion Resources ( D) is down $0.33 (-0.6%) to $51.01 on light volume Thus far, 553,722 shares of Dominion Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $50.96-$51.37 after having opened the day at $51.30 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $51.34.

Dominion Resources, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in producing and transporting energy in the United States. It operates in three segments: DVP, Dominion Generation, and Dominion Energy. Dominion Resources has a market cap of $29.6 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 25.4, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 2.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 4 analysts that rate Dominion Resources a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 12 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Dominion Resources as a buy. The company's strongest point has been its very decent return on equity which we feel should persist. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Dominion Resources Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, PPL ( PPL) is down $0.30 (-1.0%) to $28.80 on average volume Thus far, 1.5 million shares of PPL exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $28.71-$29.10 after having opened the day at $29.06 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $29.10.

PPL Corporation, an energy and utility holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity to wholesale and retail customers in the United States and the United Kingdom. PPL has a market cap of $16.9 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.4, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 1.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 5 analysts that rate PPL a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates PPL as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full PPL Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Southern ( SO) is down $0.31 (-0.7%) to $42.84 on average volume Thus far, 1.8 million shares of Southern exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $42.75-$43.14 after having opened the day at $43.02 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $43.15.

The Southern Company operates as an electric utility company. It is involved in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity through coal, nuclear, oil and gas, and hydro resources. Southern has a market cap of $37.9 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.1, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 6.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate Southern a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 12 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Southern as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, expanding profit margins, growth in earnings per share, notable return on equity and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full Southern Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Exelon ( EXC) is down $0.19 (-0.6%) to $29.49 on light volume Thus far, 1.2 million shares of Exelon exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $29.43-$29.79 after having opened the day at $29.68 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $29.68.

Exelon Corporation, a utility services holding company, engages in the energy generation and distribution business in the United States. Exelon has a market cap of $25.5 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.9, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 31.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate Exelon a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 14 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Exelon as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, feeble growth in the company's earnings per share and deteriorating net income. Get the full Exelon Ratings Report now.

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If you are interested in one of these 5 stocks, 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).

A reminder about TheStreet Ratings group: 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.

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