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

FirstEnergy ( FE) pushed the Utilities sector lower today making it today's featured Utilities laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.1%. By the end of trading, FirstEnergy fell $2.76 (-6.5%) to $39.86 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 12,505,953 shares of FirstEnergy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,022,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $39.32-$40.89 after having opened the day at $40.89 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $42.62. Other companies within the Utilities sector that declined today were: Exelon ( EXC), down 7.5%, NRG Energy ( NRG), down 3.7%, GreenHunter Energy ( GRH), down 3.5% and Korea Electric Power ( KEP), down 3.3%.
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FirstEnergy Corp., a diversified energy holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in the United States. The company operates in Regulated Distribution, Regulated Transmission, and Competitive Energy Services segments. FirstEnergy has a market cap of $17.8 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 27.0, above 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 Friday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate FirstEnergy a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates FirstEnergy as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its generally strong cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

On the positive front, Beacon Power ( BCON), down 12.0%, Cadiz ( CDZI), down 5.3%, U.S. Geothermal ( HTM), down 4.7% and Southcross Energy Partners ( SXE), down 4.5%.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, 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).

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