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 275 points (1.6%) at 16,994 as of Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, 4:20 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,500 issues advancing vs. 612 declining with 106 unchanged.

The Utilities sector as a whole closed the day up 1.3% versus the S&P 500, which was up 1.7%. Top gainers within the Utilities sector included Ellomay Capital ( ELLO), up 3.2%, Artesian Resource ( ARTNA), up 2.2%, Ocean Power Technologies ( OPTT), up 5.9%, Middlesex Water ( MSEX), up 1.9% and Connecticut Water Service ( CTWS), up 2.5%.

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

Middlesex Water ( MSEX) is one of the companies that pushed the Utilities sector higher today. Middlesex Water was up $0.38 (1.9%) to $20.29 on average volume. Throughout the day, 39,473 shares of Middlesex Water exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 32,800 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $19.74-$20.30 after having opened the day at $19.85 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $19.91.

Middlesex Water Company, through its subsidiaries, provides regulated and unregulated water, and wastewater utility services. The company operates in two segments, Regulated and Non-Regulated. Middlesex Water has a market cap of $321.1 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 4.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates Middlesex Water a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Middlesex Water as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins, increase in net income and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on MSEX go as follows:

  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 7.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.3%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • MIDDLESEX WATER CO's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, MIDDLESEX WATER CO increased its bottom line by earning $1.03 versus $0.89 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.12 versus $1.03).
  • 39.68% is the gross profit margin for MIDDLESEX WATER CO which we consider to be strong. 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 16.19% trails the industry average.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Water Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 5.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $4.48 million to $4.73 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.85, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.43 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Middlesex Water Ratings Report

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At the close, Ocean Power Technologies ( OPTT) was up $0.07 (5.9%) to $1.25 on light volume. Throughout the day, 182,581 shares of Ocean Power Technologies exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 415,700 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $1.16-$1.25 after having opened the day at $1.19 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $1.18.

Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. develops and commercializes proprietary systems that generate electricity by harnessing the renewable energy of ocean waves primarily in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Ocean Power Technologies has a market cap of $21.1 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 38.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Ocean Power Technologies a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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

TheStreet Ratings rates Ocean Power Technologies as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on OPTT go as follows:

  • Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to -$3.17 million or 2.92% when compared to the same quarter last year. In conjunction, when comparing current results to the industry average, OCEAN POWER TECHNOLOGIES INC has marginally lower results.
  • OPTT's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 31.18%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Electrical Equipment industry and the overall market, OCEAN POWER TECHNOLOGIES INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Electrical Equipment industry average. The net income increased by 12.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from -$3.75 million to -$3.28 million.
  • OCEAN POWER TECHNOLOGIES INC has improved earnings per share by 47.2% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, OCEAN POWER TECHNOLOGIES INC continued to lose money by earning -$0.94 versus -$1.42 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.76 versus -$0.94).

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Ocean Power Technologies 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.

Artesian Resource ( ARTNA) was another company that pushed the Utilities sector higher today. Artesian Resource was up $0.43 (2.2%) to $20.36 on average volume. Throughout the day, 21,912 shares of Artesian Resource exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 20,200 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $19.91-$20.58 after having opened the day at $19.98 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $19.93.

Artesian Resources Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides water, wastewater, and other services on the Delmarva Peninsula. It distributes and sells water to residential, commercial, industrial, municipal, and utility customers in the states of Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Artesian Resource has a market cap of $160.2 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 12.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 2 analysts who rate Artesian Resource a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Artesian Resource as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on ARTNA go as follows:

  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 7.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.6%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.96, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.34 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $4.97 million or 8.27% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, ARTESIAN RESOURCES's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 20.31%.
  • 39.77% is the gross profit margin for ARTESIAN RESOURCES which we consider to be strong. Regardless of ARTNA's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 10.96% trails the industry average.
  • ARTESIAN RESOURCES's earnings per share declined by 21.4% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ARTESIAN RESOURCES reported lower earnings of $0.93 versus $1.14 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.04 versus $0.93).

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Artesian Resource 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.