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The Utilities sector as a whole closed the day up 0.9% versus the S&P 500, which was up 0.2%. Laggards within the Utilities sector included Niska Gas Storage Partners ( NKA), down 7.2%, Cheniere Energy Partners LP Holdings ( CQH), down 2.9%, Dominion Resources ( DCUA), down 2.1%, Dominion Resources ( DCUB), down 2.0% and Energy Company of Parana ( ELP), down 2.1%.

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

Energy Company of Parana ( ELP) is one of the companies that pushed the Utilities sector lower today. Energy Company of Parana was down $0.32 (2.1%) to $14.97 on average volume. Throughout the day, 619,193 shares of Energy Company of Parana exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 559,400 shares. The stock ranged in price between $14.74-$15.15 after having opened the day at $15.08 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $15.29.

Companhia Paranaense de Energia - COPEL is engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity to industrial, residential, commercial, and rural customers primarily in the State of Parana, Brazil. Energy Company of Parana has a market cap of $4.1 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 16.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Energy Company of Parana a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Energy Company of Parana as a hold. 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 and increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on ELP go as follows:

  • ELP's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 5.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 69.8%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.43, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. To add to this, ELP has a quick ratio of 1.56, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • COPEL-CIA PARANAENSE ENERGIA has improved earnings per share by 11.1% 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 year. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, COPEL-CIA PARANAENSE ENERGIA increased its bottom line by earning $3.53 versus $2.67 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 52.9% in earnings ($1.66 versus $3.53).
  • The gross profit margin for COPEL-CIA PARANAENSE ENERGIA is currently extremely low, coming in at 14.30%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 7.05% trails that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $220.19 million or 50.05% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Energy Company of Parana Ratings Report

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At the close, Cheniere Energy Partners LP Holdings ( CQH) was down $0.65 (2.9%) to $21.75 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 196,275 shares of Cheniere Energy Partners LP Holdings exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 128,700 shares. The stock ranged in price between $20.96-$22.21 after having opened the day at $22.11 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $22.40.

Cheniere Energy Partners LP Holdings has a market cap of $5.4 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 24.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 3 analysts who rate Cheniere Energy Partners LP Holdings a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

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Niska Gas Storage Partners ( NKA) was another company that pushed the Utilities sector lower today. Niska Gas Storage Partners was down $0.80 (7.2%) to $10.27 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 274,954 shares of Niska Gas Storage Partners exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 102,500 shares. The stock ranged in price between $10.17-$11.04 after having opened the day at $10.98 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $11.07.

Niska Gas Storage Partners LLC owns and operates natural gas storage assets in North America. Niska Gas Storage Partners has a market cap of $416.2 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 25.0% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. 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.

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.

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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 2.8%. 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

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