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The Utilities sector as a whole closed the day down 0.6% versus the S&P 500, which was down 0.8%. Laggards within the Utilities sector included RGC Resources ( RGCO), down 1.7%, Consolidated Water ( CWCO), down 2.3%, American Midstream Partners ( AMID), down 6.3%, SJW ( SJW), down 2.1% and Unitil ( UTL), down 2.5%.

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

SJW ( SJW) is one of the companies that pushed the Utilities sector lower today. SJW was down $0.69 (2.1%) to $32.20 on light volume. Throughout the day, 22,600 shares of SJW exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 57,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $32.07-$32.80 after having opened the day at $32.80 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $32.89.

SJW Corp., through its subsidiaries, operates as a water utility company. The company operates through two segments, Water Utility Services and Real Estate Services. It is engaged in the production, purchase, storage, purification, distribution, wholesale, and retail sale of water. SJW has a market cap of $653.7 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 2.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates SJW a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates SJW as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, compelling growth in net income and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on SJW go as follows:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 8.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 47.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Water Utilities industry. The net income increased by 328.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $8.95 million to $38.37 million.
  • The gross profit margin for SJW CORP is rather high; currently it is at 54.68%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 30.58% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $20.88 million or 3.51% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, SJW CORP has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -3.59%.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Water Utilities industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, SJW CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.

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

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At the close, American Midstream Partners ( AMID) was down $1.18 (6.3%) to $17.56 on average volume. Throughout the day, 105,505 shares of American Midstream Partners exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 82,000 shares. The stock ranged in price between $17.50-$18.68 after having opened the day at $18.68 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $18.74.

American Midstream Partners, LP is engaged in gathering, treating, processing, and transporting natural gas primarily in the Gulf Coast and Southeast regions of the United States. American Midstream Partners has a market cap of $284.1 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 4.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 4 analysts who rate American Midstream Partners a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates American Midstream Partners as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on AMID go as follows:

  • The gross profit margin for AMERICAN MIDSTREAM PRTNRS LP is currently extremely low, coming in at 7.85%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -3.49% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • AMID'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 26.11%, 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, AMERICAN MIDSTREAM PRTNRS LP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • AMID, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 6.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 9.3%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • AMID's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.15 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.16 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: American Midstream Partners Ratings Report

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Consolidated Water ( CWCO) was another company that pushed the Utilities sector lower today. Consolidated Water was down $0.26 (2.3%) to $10.88 on light volume. Throughout the day, 42,009 shares of Consolidated Water exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 79,500 shares. The stock ranged in price between $10.83-$11.22 after having opened the day at $11.22 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $11.14.

Consolidated Water Co. Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, develops and operates seawater desalination plants and water distribution systems. It operates in three segments: Retail, Bulk, and Services. Consolidated Water has a market cap of $163.9 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 4.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 2 analysts who rate Consolidated Water a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Consolidated Water 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 and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

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Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on CWCO go as follows:

  • CWCO's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 8.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.3%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • CWCO's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.07 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 3.29, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Water Utilities industry. The net income increased by 107.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.91 million to $1.88 million.
  • CONSOLIDATED WATER CO INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to 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, CONSOLIDATED WATER CO INC reported lower earnings of $0.58 versus $0.64 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 18.1% in earnings ($0.48 versus $0.58).
  • CWCO'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 28.35%, 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. Despite the heavy decline in its share price over the last year, this stock is still more expensive (when compared to its current earnings) than most other companies in its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays compensate for this.

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

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