4 Stocks Improving Performance Of The Utilities Sector

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 64 points (0.4%) at 14,866 as of Thursday, April 11, 2013, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,808 issues advancing vs. 1,100 declining with 140 unchanged.

The Utilities sector currently sits up 0.2% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.4%. Top gainers within the sector include Korea Electric Power ( KEP), up 2.4%, Edison International ( EIX), up 1.2%, FirstEnergy ( FE), up 1.0% and Duke Energy Corporation ( DUK), up 0.9%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras ( EBR.B), down 2.82, Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras ( EBR), down 2.53 and AmeriGas Partners ( APU), down 1.90.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 4 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

4. Calpine ( CPN) is one of the companies pushing the Utilities sector higher today. As of noon trading, Calpine is up $0.33 (1.58) to $21.21 on average volume Thus far, 1.4 million shares of Calpine exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $20.89-$21.22 after having opened the day at $21.00 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $20.88.

Calpine Corporation, a wholesale power generation company, owns and operates natural gas-fired and geothermal power plants in North America. It operates natural gas-fired combustion turbines and renewable geothermal conventional steam turbines, as well as cogeneration power plants. Calpine has a market cap of $9.5 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 49.4, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 15.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Calpine as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and generally high debt management risk. Get the full Calpine Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, Entergy ( ETR) is up $0.72 (1.05) to $68.98 on average volume Thus far, 470,984 shares of Entergy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $67.81-$69.10 after having opened the day at $68.29 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $68.26.

Entergy Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the electric power production and retail electric distribution operations in the United States. The company generates electricity through various sources, such as gas/oil, nuclear, coal, and hydro power. Entergy has a market cap of $12.1 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 7.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Entergy as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, attractive valuation levels and growth in earnings per share. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk, weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself. Get the full Entergy Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, American Electric Power ( AEP) is up $0.34 (0.69) to $49.98 on average volume Thus far, 1.1 million shares of American Electric Power exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $49.47-$50.00 after having opened the day at $49.70 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $49.64.

American Electric Power Company, Inc., a public utility holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power to retail customers. The company generates electricity using coal and lignite, natural gas, nuclear energy, and hydroelectric energy. American Electric Power has a market cap of $23.8 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.8, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 16.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Electric Power as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, revenue growth, good cash flow from operations 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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1. As of noon trading, Southern ( SO) is up $0.24 (0.51) to $47.69 on light volume Thus far, 1.1 million shares of Southern exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $47.39-$47.70 after having opened the day at $47.51 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $47.45.

The Southern Company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a public electric utility company. Southern has a market cap of $41.1 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.7, equal to the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 10.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Southern as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, revenue growth, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Southern Ratings Report now.

Exclusive Offer: Jim Cramer's 'go-to' small/mid-cap guru Bryan Ashenberg only buys stocks he thinks could return 50-100%. See his top picks for 14-days FREE.

If you are interested in one of these 4 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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