3 Utilities Stocks Pushing The 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 115 points (0.8%) at 14,816 as of Thursday, May 2, 2013, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,190 issues advancing vs. 733 declining with 109 unchanged.

The Utilities sector currently sits up 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.8%. Top gainers within the sector include CPFL Energy ( CPL), up 1.6%, and Korea Electric Power ( KEP), up 1.4%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras ( EBR.B), down 3.80, Exelon ( EXC), down 1.96, Calpine ( CPN), down 2.01, ONEOK ( OKE), down 1.98 and CenterPoint Energy ( CNP), down 0.99.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

3. MDU Resources Group ( MDU) is one of the companies pushing the Utilities sector higher today. As of noon trading, MDU Resources Group is up $0.69 (2.74) to $25.90 on heavy volume Thus far, 686,438 shares of MDU Resources Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 748,900 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $25.49-$25.98 after having opened the day at $25.49 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $25.21.

MDU Resources Group, Inc. operates as a diversified natural resource company in the United States. The company's Electric segment generates, transmits, and distributes electricity in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. MDU Resources Group has a market cap of $4.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 18.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate MDU Resources Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates MDU Resources Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full MDU Resources Group Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Companhia De Saneamento Basico Do Estado De ( SBS) is up $0.12 (0.84) to $14.36 on average volume Thus far, 650,650 shares of Companhia De Saneamento Basico Do Estado De exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $14.14-$14.40 after having opened the day at $14.25 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $14.24.

Companhia de Saneamento Basico do Estado de S o Paulo SABESP provides basic and environmental sanitation services; and supplies treated water on a wholesale basis to residential, commercial, industrial, and governmental customers in the State of S o Paulo. Companhia De Saneamento Basico Do Estado De has a market cap of $9.8 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 2.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates Companhia De Saneamento Basico Do Estado De a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Companhia De Saneamento Basico Do Estado De as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Companhia De Saneamento Basico Do Estado De Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Northeast Utilities ( NU) is up $0.36 (0.81) to $45.34 on light volume Thus far, 474,756 shares of Northeast Utilities exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $45.00-$45.53 after having opened the day at $45.24 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $44.97.

Northeast Utilities, a public utility company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the energy delivery business. It operates in four segments: Electric Distribution, Electric Transmission, Natural Gas Distribution, and Other. Northeast Utilities has a market cap of $14.3 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.0, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 15.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 7 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, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures 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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If you are interested in one of these 3 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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