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The Utilities sector as a whole closed the day down 1.9% versus the S&P 500, which was down 1.3%. Laggards within the Utilities sector included Pure Cycle ( PCYO), down 2.6%, Sky Solar Holdings ( SKYS), down 4.1%, Gas Natural ( EGAS), down 1.9%, Artesian Resource ( ARTNA), down 1.8% and York Water ( YORW), down 2.8%.

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

Gas Natural ( EGAS) is one of the companies that pushed the Utilities sector lower today. Gas Natural was down $0.19 (1.9%) to $9.81 on light volume. Throughout the day, 18,795 shares of Gas Natural exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 35,000 shares. The stock ranged in price between $9.81-$9.91 after having opened the day at $9.81 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $10.00.

Gas Natural Inc. is engaged in the distribution and sale of natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers. It operates through Natural Gas Operations, Marketing and Production Operations, and Pipeline Operations segments. Gas Natural has a market cap of $104.8 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 9.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates Gas Natural a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Gas Natural as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the growth in the company's net income has been quite unimpressive.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on EGAS go as follows:

  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 107.03% to $0.19 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, GAS NATURAL INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -70.48%.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.71, 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 0.16 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Gas Utilities industry and the overall market, GAS NATURAL INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Gas Utilities industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 47.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$1.01 million to -$1.48 million.

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

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At the close, Sky Solar Holdings ( SKYS) was down $0.47 (4.1%) to $11.08 on light volume. Throughout the day, 1,210 shares of Sky Solar Holdings exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 30,300 shares. The stock ranged in price between $10.87-$11.21 after having opened the day at $10.87 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $11.55.

Sky Solar Holdings has a market cap of $570.8 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 9.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 2 analysts who rate Sky Solar Holdings a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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Pure Cycle ( PCYO) was another company that pushed the Utilities sector lower today. Pure Cycle was down $0.12 (2.6%) to $4.50 on light volume. Throughout the day, 8,012 shares of Pure Cycle exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 52,600 shares. The stock ranged in price between $4.50-$4.67 after having opened the day at $4.67 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $4.62.

Pure Cycle Corporation designs, constructs, operates, and maintains water and wastewater systems in the Denver metropolitan area, the United States. Pure Cycle has a market cap of $114.4 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 15.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. 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 compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and weak operating cash flow.

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Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on PCYO go as follows:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 9.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 44.0%. 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 0.06 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.28, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • The gross profit margin for PURE CYCLE CORP is currently very high, coming in at 78.54%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, PCYO's net profit margin of 1.19% significantly trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$0.28 million or 129.75% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • PCYO'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 26.55%, 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, this stock is still more expensive (when compared to its current earnings) than most other companies in its industry.

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

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