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The Utilities sector as a whole closed the day down 2.3% versus the S&P 500, which was down 2.1%. Laggards within the Utilities sector included Ellomay Capital ( ELLO), down 3.4%, American DG Energy ( ADGE), down 5.0%, U S Geothermal ( HTM), down 3.7%, Pure Cycle ( PCYO), down 2.7% and York Water ( YORW), down 2.1%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks that pushed the sector lower today:

York Water ( YORW) is one of the companies that pushed the Utilities sector lower today. York Water was down $0.42 (2.1%) to $19.85 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 38,377 shares of York Water exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 22,600 shares. The stock ranged in price between $19.80-$20.31 after having opened the day at $20.31 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $20.27.

The York Water Company is engaged in impounding, purifying, and distributing drinking water. It operates two wastewater collection and treatment systems; and has two reservoirs comprising Lake Williams and Lake Redman, which together hold up to approximately 2.2 billion gallons of water. York Water has a market cap of $256.0 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 3.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates York Water a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates York Water as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, good cash flow from operations, 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 lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on YORW go as follows:

  • YORW's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 7.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • YORK WATER CO has improved earnings per share by 22.2% 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. During the past fiscal year, YORK WATER CO increased its bottom line by earning $0.75 versus $0.72 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.87 versus $0.75).
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 52.54% to $5.22 million when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 20.31%.
  • 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 17.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $2.34 million to $2.76 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.84, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.96 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.

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

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At the close, Pure Cycle ( PCYO) was down $0.17 (2.7%) to $6.11 on light volume. Throughout the day, 25,218 shares of Pure Cycle exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 47,500 shares. The stock ranged in price between $6.05-$6.32 after having opened the day at $6.27 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $6.28.

Pure Cycle Corporation designs, constructs, operates, and maintains water and wastewater systems in the Denver metropolitan area. Pure Cycle has a market cap of $150.7 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 0.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates Pure Cycle a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Pure Cycle as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's return on equity has been disappointing.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on PCYO go as follows:

  • PCYO's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 7.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 64.4%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • PCYO's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.05 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 3.48, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for PURE CYCLE CORP is currently very high, coming in at 79.82%. 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 -56.25% is in-line with the industry average.
  • 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 Water Utilities industry and the overall market, PURE CYCLE CORP'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: Pure Cycle Ratings Report

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U S Geothermal ( HTM) was another company that pushed the Utilities sector lower today. U S Geothermal was down $0.02 (3.7%) to $0.52 on light volume. Throughout the day, 230,821 shares of U S Geothermal exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 357,800 shares. The stock ranged in price between $0.52-$0.54 after having opened the day at $0.54 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.54.

U S Geothermal has a market cap of $56.8 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 42.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate U S Geothermal a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates 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.