3 Stocks Moving The Utilities Sector Upward

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.

Two out of the three major indices traded up today The three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 18 points (0.1%) at 17,652 as of Monday, Nov. 17, 2014, 3:25 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,424 issues advancing vs. 1,602 declining with 148 unchanged.

The Utilities sector as a whole closed the day up 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which was up 0.1%. Top gainers within the Utilities sector included Pure Cycle ( PCYO), up 4.0%, Spark Energy ( SPKE), up 6.2%, Niska Gas Storage Partners ( NKA), up 11.4%, Southcross Energy Partners ( SXE), up 2.0% and TransAlta ( TAC), up 1.7%.

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

Niska Gas Storage Partners ( NKA) is one of the companies that pushed the Utilities sector higher today. Niska Gas Storage Partners was up $0.52 (11.4%) to $5.08 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 337,366 shares of Niska Gas Storage Partners exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 203,900 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $4.58-$5.14 after having opened the day at $4.58 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $4.56.

Niska Gas Storage Partners LLC owns and operates natural gas storage assets in North America. Niska Gas Storage Partners has a market cap of $173.3 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 69.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Niska Gas Storage Partners a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 2 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 Niska Gas Storage Partners as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its generally strong cash flow from operations. 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:

  • Net operating cash flow has increased to -$30.44 million or 48.83% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -2.19%.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 6.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 42.8%. 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 470.8% in earnings (-$1.37 versus -$0.24).
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. 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.
  • The gross profit margin for NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS is currently extremely low, coming in at 13.39%. It has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -136.70% is significantly below that of the industry average.

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.

At the close, Spark Energy ( SPKE) was up $1.01 (6.2%) to $17.25 on average volume. Throughout the day, 36,537 shares of Spark Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 33,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $16.32-$17.61 after having opened the day at $16.32 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $16.24.

Spark Energy has a market cap of $49.1 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are unchanged year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Pure Cycle ( PCYO) was another company that pushed the Utilities sector higher today. Pure Cycle was up $0.20 (4.0%) to $5.20 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 90,584 shares of Pure Cycle exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 42,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $4.94-$5.30 after having opened the day at $5.04 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $5.00.

Pure Cycle Corporation designs, constructs, operates, and maintains water and wastewater systems in the Denver metropolitan area. Pure Cycle has a market cap of $123.1 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 21.0% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates Pure Cycle a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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 impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has had a generally disappointing performance in the past year.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on PCYO go as follows:

  • PCYO's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 8.8%. 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.
  • PCYO has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 17.42% from its price level of one year ago. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Pure Cycle 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.

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