5 Stocks Pushing The Utilities Sector Higher

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 up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 10 points (0.1%) at 14,085 as of Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, 12:04 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,607 issues advancing vs. 1,243 declining with 160 unchanged.

The Utilities sector currently sits up 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.2%. Top gainers within the sector include Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras ( EBR), up 3.7%, and Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras ( EBR.B), up 1.6%.

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

5. NiSource ( NI) is one of the companies pushing the Utilities sector higher today. As of noon trading, NiSource is up $0.30 (1.1%) to $27.72 on light volume Thus far, 650,488 shares of NiSource exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $27.44-$27.72 after having opened the day at $27.44 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $27.42.

NiSource Inc., an energy holding company, through its subsidiaries, provides natural gas, electricity, and other products and services. It operates in three segments: Gas Distribution Operations, Gas Transmission and Storage Operations, and Electric Operations. NiSource has a market cap of $8.4 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.8, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 10.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate NiSource a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates NiSource as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full NiSource Ratings Report now.

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4. As of noon trading, Ameren ( AEE) is up $0.42 (1.2%) to $33.89 on light volume Thus far, 595,729 shares of Ameren exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $33.49-$33.89 after having opened the day at $33.49 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $33.47.

Ameren Corporation operates as a public utility holding company in Missouri and Illinois, the United States. Ameren has a market cap of $8.1 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.8, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 9.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates Ameren a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ameren as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year 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 Ameren Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, Xcel Energy ( XEL) is up $0.21 (0.7%) to $28.76 on average volume Thus far, 1.2 million shares of Xcel Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $28.53-$28.77 after having opened the day at $28.57 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $28.55.

Xcel Energy Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, purchase, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity in the United States. The company generates electricity using coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, solar, waste, biomass, oil, and wind energy sources. Xcel Energy has a market cap of $13.8 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 6.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate Xcel Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 12 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Xcel Energy as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated. Get the full Xcel Energy Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Edison International ( EIX) is up $0.56 (1.2%) to $47.80 on average volume Thus far, 1.1 million shares of Edison International exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $47.34-$48.00 after having opened the day at $47.68 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $47.24.

Edison International, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation and distribution of electric power. It operates in two segments, Electric Utility and Competitive Power Generation. Edison International has a market cap of $15.0 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.1, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 2.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 8 analysts that rate Edison International a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Edison International as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Edison International Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, PG&E ( PCG) is up $0.36 (0.8%) to $42.48 on average volume Thus far, 1.4 million shares of PG&E exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $42.06-$42.52 after having opened the day at $42.17 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $42.12.

PG&E Corporation, through its subsidiaries, operates as a public utility company in northern and central California. PG&E has a market cap of $18.0 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.7, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 4.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 4 analysts that rate PG&E a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates PG&E as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its revenue growth. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and poor profit margins. Get the full PG&E 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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