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

One out of the three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 15 points (-0.1%) at 14,074 as of Monday, March 4, 2013, 12:05 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,220 issues advancing vs. 1,591 declining with 184 unchanged.

The Utilities sector currently sits up 0.2% versus the S&P 500, which is unchanged. Top gainers within the sector include Edison International ( EIX), up 1.1%, PG&E ( PCG), up 0.9% and TransCanada ( TRP), up 0.8%. A company within the sector that fell today was Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras ( EBR.B), up 1.0%.

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

5. Aqua America ( WTR) is one of the companies pushing the Utilities sector higher today. As of noon trading, Aqua America is up $0.77 (2.6%) to $29.85 on average volume Thus far, 378,367 shares of Aqua America exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 630,900 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $29.27-$29.99 after having opened the day at $29.35 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $29.08.

Aqua America, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates regulated utilities that provide water or wastewater services in the United States. Aqua America has a market cap of $4.1 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.1, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 14.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 5 analysts that rate Aqua America a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Aqua America as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. 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 Aqua America Ratings Report now.

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4. As of noon trading, Public Service Enterprise Group ( PEG) is up $0.39 (1.2%) to $33.24 on light volume Thus far, 1.1 million shares of Public Service Enterprise Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $32.73-$33.28 after having opened the day at $32.88 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $32.85.

Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated, through its subsidiaries, operates as an energy company primarily in the northeastern and mid Atlantic United States. Public Service Enterprise Group has a market cap of $16.5 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.0, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 6.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates Public Service Enterprise Group a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Public Service Enterprise Group 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 largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share. Get the full Public Service Enterprise Group Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, American Electric Power ( AEP) is up $0.29 (0.6%) to $47.00 on average volume Thus far, 1.2 million shares of American Electric Power exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $46.55-$47.03 after having opened the day at $46.62 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $46.71.

American Electric Power Company, Inc., a public utility holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power to retail customers. It generates electricity using coal and lignite, natural gas, nuclear energy, and hydroelectric energy. American Electric Power has a market cap of $22.7 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.0, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 9.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate American Electric Power a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

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

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2. As of noon trading, NextEra Energy ( NEE) is up $0.70 (1.0%) to $73.06 on light volume Thus far, 475,545 shares of NextEra Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $72.19-$73.12 after having opened the day at $72.23 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $72.36.

NextEra Energy, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electric energy in the United States and Canada. The company is involved in the generation of renewable energy from wind and solar projects. NextEra Energy has a market cap of $30.4 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.8, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 3.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate NextEra Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates NextEra Energy as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its 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 NextEra Energy Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Exelon ( EXC) is up $0.20 (0.6%) to $31.11 on light volume Thus far, 1.7 million shares of Exelon exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $30.78-$31.21 after having opened the day at $30.85 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $30.91.

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 $26.5 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.8, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 4.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 3 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 robust 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 deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins. 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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