SO, NEE And EXC, Pushing Utilities Sector Downward

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 up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 77 points (0.5%) at 17,053 as of Thursday, July 3, 2014, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,714 issues advancing vs. 1,323 declining with 126 unchanged.

The Utilities sector currently sits down 0.6% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.5%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Public Service Enterprise Group ( PEG), down 2.7%, Entergy ( ETR), down 1.6%, Sempra Energy ( SRE), down 1.6%, Dominion Resources ( D), down 1.5% and PG&E ( PCG), down 1.4%.

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

3. Southern ( SO) is one of the companies pushing the Utilities sector lower today. As of noon trading, Southern is down $0.32 (-0.7%) to $43.94 on average volume. Thus far, 2.9 million shares of Southern exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $43.67-$44.07 after having opened the day at $44.07 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $44.26.

The Southern Company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a public electric utility company. Southern has a market cap of $40.2 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 7.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate Southern a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Southern as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, increase in net income and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full Southern 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, NextEra Energy ( NEE) is down $1.45 (-1.4%) to $98.25 on average volume. Thus far, 1.0 million shares of NextEra Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $97.24-$99.55 after having opened the day at $99.55 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $99.70.

NextEra Energy, Inc., through its subsidiaries, generates, transmits, distributes, and sells electric energy in the United States and Canada. The company generates electricity from gas, oil, solar, coal, petroleum coke, and nuclear sources. NextEra Energy has a market cap of $44.2 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 16.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate NextEra Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates NextEra Energy as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. 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 NextEra Energy 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, Exelon ( EXC) is down $0.61 (-1.8%) to $33.98 on average volume. Thus far, 6.5 million shares of Exelon exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $33.80-$34.37 after having opened the day at $34.37 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $34.59.

Exelon Corporation, a utility services holding company, is engaged in the energy generation business in the United States. It operates through nine segments: Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, New England, New York, ERCOT, Other Regions, ComEd, PECO, and BGE. Exelon has a market cap of $30.7 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 26.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate Exelon a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Exelon 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, compelling growth in net income, 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 shows low profit margins. Get the full Exelon 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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