3 Stocks Improving Performance Of The Utilities Sector

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

All three major indices are trading down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 34 points (-0.2%) at 15,991 as of Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, 11:45 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,256 issues advancing vs. 1,637 declining with 176 unchanged.

The Utilities sector currently sits down 0.7% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.2%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Wisconsin Energy Corporation ( WEC), down 1.8%, Korea Electric Power ( KEP), down 1.3%, Consolidated Edison ( ED), down 1.2%, PPL ( PPL), down 1.1% and Edison International ( EIX), down 1.1%.

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

3. Atlas Energy ( ATLS) is one of the companies pushing the Utilities sector higher today. As of noon trading, Atlas Energy is up $1.29 (3.0%) to $43.74 on light volume. Thus far, 110,548 shares of Atlas Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 403,900 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $42.56-$43.78 after having opened the day at $42.69 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $42.45.

Atlas Energy, L.P. engages in the development and production of natural gas, crude oil, and natural gas liquids in basins across the United States. It also sponsors and manages tax-advantaged natural gas and oil investment partnerships. Atlas Energy has a market cap of $2.2 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 22.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate Atlas Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Atlas Energy as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth and increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity. Get the full Atlas Energy Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Energy Company of Minas Gerais ( CIG) is up $0.08 (1.0%) to $8.46 on average volume. Thus far, 1.4 million shares of Energy Company of Minas Gerais exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $8.40-$8.49 after having opened the day at $8.43 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $8.38.

Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais S.A., through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transformation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electric energy primarily in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Energy Company of Minas Gerais has a market cap of $8.0 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.9, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 12.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates Energy Company of Minas Gerais a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Energy Company of Minas Gerais as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share. Get the full Energy Company of Minas Gerais 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, Praxair ( PX) is up $1.35 (1.1%) to $126.76 on average volume. Thus far, 628,731 shares of Praxair exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 914,100 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $126.70-$128.62 after having opened the day at $128.32 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $125.41.

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 $36.9 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.2, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 14.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. 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. Get the full Praxair 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 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).

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