4 Stocks Driving The Utilities Sector Higher

All three major indices are trading up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 66 points (0.4%) at 14,999 as of Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 12:51 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,256 issues advancing vs. 1,690 declining with 89 unchanged.

The Utilities sector currently is unchanged today versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.2%. Top gainers within the sector include Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras ( EBR), up 1.0%, Enersis ( ENI), up 0.8% and Empresa Nacional de ElectricidadSA ( EOC), up 0.5%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Atlas Energy ( ATLS), down 6.5%, Companhia De Saneamento Basico Do Estado De ( SBS), down 1.6%, TransCanada ( TRP), down 0.6% and PPL ( PPL), down 0.5%.

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

4. American Water Works ( AWK) is one of the companies pushing the Utilities sector higher today. As of noon trading, American Water Works is up $0.42 (1.1%) to $40.32 on heavy volume. Thus far, 803,093 shares of American Water Works exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 918,600 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $39.64-$40.47 after having opened the day at $39.89 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $39.90.

American Water Works Company, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides water and wastewater services in the United States and Canada. The company's Regulated Businesses segment offers water and wastewater services to approximately 1,500 communities in 16 states. American Water Works has a market cap of $7.1 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 7.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 13 analysts that rate American Water Works a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Water Works as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. 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 American Water Works Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, Northeast Utilities ( NU) is up $0.21 (0.5%) to $41.34 on light volume. Thus far, 530,841 shares of Northeast Utilities exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $40.86-$41.41 after having opened the day at $41.11 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $41.13.

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 $13.0 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 5.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 8 analysts that rate Northeast Utilities a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 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 increase in stock price during the past year. 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.

3x UPSIDE POTENTIAL: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

2. As of noon trading, AES ( AES) is up $0.09 (0.8%) to $11.90 on average volume. Thus far, 2.3 million shares of AES exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $11.62-$11.97 after having opened the day at $11.70 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $11.81.

The AES Corporation, a power company, operates a portfolio of electricity generation and distribution businesses. Its Generation business owns and/or operates power plants to generate and sell power to wholesale customers, such as utilities and other intermediaries. AES has a market cap of $8.9 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 10.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 5 analysts that rate AES a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates AES as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its revenue growth. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity. Get the full AES Ratings Report now.

3x UPSIDE POTENTIAL: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

1. As of noon trading, NRG Energy ( NRG) is up $0.28 (1.1%) to $26.37 on light volume. Thus far, 1.1 million shares of NRG Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $25.93-$26.38 after having opened the day at $26.08 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $26.09.

NRG Energy, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an integrated wholesale power generation and retail electricity company. The company engages in the ownership, development, construction, expansion, modification, refurbishment, and operation of power generation facilities. NRG Energy has a market cap of $8.5 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 13.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate NRG Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates NRG Energy as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, reasonable valuation levels and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full NRG Energy Ratings Report now.

3x UPSIDE POTENTIAL: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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).

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