Praxair Inc. (PX): Today's Featured Utilities Laggard

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Praxair ( PX) pushed the Utilities sector lower today making it today's featured Utilities laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 1.1%. By the end of trading, Praxair fell $1.48 (-1.2%) to $124.78 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1,131,341 shares of Praxair exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 901,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $124.65-$127.38 after having opened the day at $126.11 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $126.26. Other companies within the Utilities sector that declined today were: Empresa Distribuidora y Comercializadora No ( EDN), down 16.5%, Atlantic Power Corporation ( AT), down 7.0%, York Water Company ( YORW), down 5.2% and American States Water ( AWR), down 5.0%.

Praxair, Inc. engages in the production, distribution, and sale atmospheric and process gases, as well as surface coatings in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia. Praxair has a market cap of $37.3 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.4, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 15.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate Praxair a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Praxair as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

On the positive front, U.S. Geothermal ( HTM), up 8.6%, Pattern Energy Group ( PEGI), up 2.5%, Just Energy Group ( JE), up 2.3% and ITC Holdings ( ITC), up 1.6% , were all gainers within the utilities sector with NRG Energy ( NRG) being today's featured utilities sector leader.

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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