3 Utilities Stocks Dragging The Sector Down

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 83 points (-0.5%) at 16,448 as of Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,223 issues advancing vs. 1,760 declining with 164 unchanged.

The Utilities sector currently is unchanged today versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.4%. Top gainers within the sector include CPFL Energy ( CPL), up 3.7%, Energy Company of Parana ( ELP), up 2.7%, Western Gas Equity Partners ( WGP), up 1.2% and Korea Electric Power ( KEP), up 0.8%.

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

3. FirstEnergy ( FE) is one of the companies pushing the Utilities sector lower today. As of noon trading, FirstEnergy is down $0.70 (-2.1%) to $32.72 on heavy volume. Thus far, 3.7 million shares of FirstEnergy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $32.65-$33.55 after having opened the day at $33.11 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $33.42.

FirstEnergy Corp., a diversified energy company, generates, transmits, and distributes electricity in the United States. The company operates through Regulated Distribution, Regulated Transmission, and Competitive Energy Services segments. FirstEnergy has a market cap of $14.0 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 37.0, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 1.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate FirstEnergy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates FirstEnergy as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, revenue growth and growth in earnings per share. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity. Get the full FirstEnergy Ratings Report now.

STOCKS TO BUY: 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, PPL ( PPL) is down $0.18 (-0.5%) to $34.18 on average volume. Thus far, 2.9 million shares of PPL exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $34.00-$34.44 after having opened the day at $34.19 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $34.36.

PPL Corporation, an energy and utility holding company, generates, transmits, distributes, and sells electricity to wholesale and retail customers in the Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, and the United Kingdom. The company operates in four segments: Kentucky Regulated, U.K. PPL has a market cap of $21.3 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.1, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 14.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 4 analysts that rate PPL a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates PPL as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full PPL Ratings Report now.

STOCKS TO BUY: 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, Duke Energy Corporation ( DUK) is down $0.52 (-0.7%) to $73.00 on light volume. Thus far, 1.0 million shares of Duke Energy Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $72.97-$73.56 after having opened the day at $73.26 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $73.52.

Duke Energy Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as an energy company in the United States and Latin America. It operates through three segments: Regulated Utilities, International Energy, and Commercial Power. Duke Energy Corporation has a market cap of $51.5 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.5, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 6.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Duke Energy Corporation a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Duke Energy Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full Duke Energy Corporation Ratings Report now.

STOCKS TO BUY: 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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