All three major indices are trading down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 134 points (-0.7%) at 17,815 as of Tuesday, July 5, 2016, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 682 issues advancing vs. 2,296 declining with 110 unchanged.

The Utilities sector currently sits down 0.4% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.8%. Top gainers within the sector include CPFL Energia ( CPL), up 3.6%, WEC Energy Group ( WEC), up 1.2%, Consolidated Edison ( ED), up 1.2%, PG&E ( PCG), up 1.1% and Edison International ( EIX), up 0.7%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include NRG Energy ( NRG), down 4.6%, Huaneng Power International ( HNP), down 3.8%, Calpine ( CPN), down 3.7%, Western Gas Equity Partners ( WGP), down 2.9% and Companhia De Saneamento Basico Do Estado De ( SBS), down 2.9%.

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

3. NextEra Energy ( NEE) is one of the companies pushing the Utilities sector higher today. As of noon trading, NextEra Energy is up $0.89 (0.7%) to $130.62 on average volume. Thus far, 699,665 shares of NextEra Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $129.52-$131.32 after having opened the day at $130.00 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $129.73.

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NextEra Energy, Inc., through its subsidiaries, generates, transmits, and distributes electric energy in the United States and Canada. The company generates electricity from gas, oil, solar, coal, petroleum coke, nuclear, and wind sources. NextEra Energy has a market cap of $59.9 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 24.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 10 analysts who rate NextEra Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates NextEra Energy as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated. Get the full NextEra Energy Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Duke Energy ( DUK) is up $0.85 (1.0%) to $86.48 on average volume. Thus far, 1.4 million shares of Duke Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $85.61-$86.55 after having opened the day at $85.80 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $85.63.

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Duke Energy Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as an energy company in the United States and Latin America. It operates through three segments: Regulated Utilities, International Energy, and Commercial Portfolio. Duke Energy has a market cap of $59.0 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 19.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 3 analysts who rate Duke Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 12 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Duke Energy as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Duke Energy Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Southern ( SO) is up $0.49 (0.9%) to $54.32 on average volume. Thus far, 3.3 million shares of Southern exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $53.80-$54.42 after having opened the day at $53.81 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $53.83.

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The Southern Company, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity through coal, nuclear, oil and gas, and hydro resources in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi. Southern has a market cap of $49.4 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 15.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Southern a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Southern as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and reasonable valuation levels. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated. Get the full Southern Ratings Report now.

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If you are interested in one of these 3 stocks, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the utilities sector could consider Utilities Select Sector SPDR ( XLU) while those bearish on the utilities sector could consider ProShares UltraShort Utilities ( SDP).