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American Electric Power ( AEP) pushed the Utilities sector higher today making it today's featured utilities winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.7%. By the end of trading, American Electric Power rose $0.53 (1.0%) to $53.36 on average volume. Throughout the day, 2,987,736 shares of American Electric Power exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,100,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $52.70-$53.39 after having opened the day at $52.80 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $52.83. Other companies within the Utilities sector that increased today were: Cadiz ( CDZI), up 29.4%, Empresa Distribuidora y Comercializadora No ( EDN), up 5.5%, Transportadora de Gas del Sur ( TGS), up 5.2% and Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras ( EBR), up 4.2%.

American Electric Power Company, Inc., a public utility holding company, is engaged in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity for sale to retail and wholesale customers. American Electric Power has a market cap of $25.8 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.5, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 13.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate American Electric Power a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Electric Power as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, good cash flow from operations, increase in stock price during the past year and notable return on equity. 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 negative front, Niska Gas Storage Partners ( NKA), down 5.4%, Fuelcell Energy ( FCEL), down 3.1%, Pure Cycle ( PCYO), down 2.1% and Enersis ( ENI), down 1.6% , were all laggards within the utilities sector with Companhia De Saneamento Basico Do Estado De ( SBS) being today's utilities sector laggard.

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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