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 traded up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 209 points (1.2%) at 17,010 as of Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, 4:20 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,086 issues advancing vs. 991 declining with 139 unchanged.

The Utilities sector as a whole closed the day up 0.6% versus the S&P 500, which was up 1.1%. Top gainers within the Utilities sector included CorEnergy Infrastructure ( CORR), up 2.4%, Niska Gas Storage Partners ( NKA), up 2.0%, Spark Energy ( SPKE), up 1.5%, Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras ( EBR), up 2.8% and Otter Tail ( OTTR), up 1.6%.

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

Spark Energy ( SPKE) is one of the companies that pushed the Utilities sector higher today. Spark Energy was up $0.26 (1.5%) to $17.37 on light volume. Throughout the day, 10,962 shares of Spark Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 99,800 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $16.89-$17.69 after having opened the day at $17.31 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $17.11.

Spark Energy has a market cap of $51.3 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are unchanged year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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At the close, Niska Gas Storage Partners ( NKA) was up $0.25 (2.0%) to $12.58 on average volume. Throughout the day, 114,867 shares of Niska Gas Storage Partners exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 94,900 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $12.14-$12.58 after having opened the day at $12.51 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $12.33.

Niska Gas Storage Partners LLC owns and operates natural gas storage assets in North America. Niska Gas Storage Partners has a market cap of $435.7 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 16.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Niska Gas Storage Partners a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Niska Gas Storage Partners as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its expanding profit margins over time. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on NKA go as follows:

  • The gross profit margin for NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS is rather high; currently it is at 62.03%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -34.25% is in-line with the industry average.
  • NKA, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 3.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.2%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS continued to lose money by earning -$0.24 versus -$0.63 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 125.0% in earnings (-$0.54 versus -$0.24).
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.50 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.34, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Niska Gas Storage Partners Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

CorEnergy Infrastructure ( CORR) was another company that pushed the Utilities sector higher today. CorEnergy Infrastructure was up $0.18 (2.4%) to $7.71 on light volume. Throughout the day, 66,279 shares of CorEnergy Infrastructure exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 142,600 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $7.55-$7.75 after having opened the day at $7.58 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $7.53.

CorEnergy Infrastructure Trust, Inc. is a trust launched and managed by Corridor InfraTrust Management, LLC. The trust primarily owns midstream and downstream U.S. energy infrastructure assets subject to long-term triple net participating leases with energy companies. CorEnergy Infrastructure has a market cap of $235.7 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 5.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 4 analysts who rate CorEnergy Infrastructure a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates CorEnergy Infrastructure as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, increase in stock price during the past year, increase in net income and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on CORR go as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 2.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 19.2%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • This stock has managed to rise its share value by 5.81% over the past twelve months. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Capital Markets industry. The net income increased by 4194.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.07 million to $3.01 million.
  • CORENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE TR has shown improvement in its earnings for its most recently reported quarter when compared with the same quarter a year earlier. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CORENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE TR reported lower earnings of $0.18 versus $1.35 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.34 versus $0.18).
  • The gross profit margin for CORENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE TR is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 32.60%. Despite the low profit margin, it has increased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, CORR's net profit margin of 33.30% significantly outperformed against the industry.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: CorEnergy Infrastructure Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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.