All three major indices are trading up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 8 points (0.0%) at 18,524 as of Monday, July 18, 2016, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,660 issues advancing vs. 1,244 declining with 151 unchanged.

The Utilities sector currently is unchanged today versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.1%. Top gainers within the sector include Energy Company of Minas Gerais ( CIG), up 5.3%, and Korea Electric Power ( KEP), up 1.4%.

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

3. American Electric Power ( AEP) is one of the companies pushing the Utilities sector higher today. As of noon trading, American Electric Power is up $0.36 (0.5%) to $70.00 on light volume. Thus far, 705,566 shares of American Electric Power exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $69.68-$70.12 after having opened the day at $69.73 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $69.64.

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American Electric Power Company, Inc., a public utility holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity for sale to retail and wholesale customers. American Electric Power has a market cap of $34.1 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 19.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 9 analysts who rate American Electric Power a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Electric Power as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance and reasonable valuation levels. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full American Electric Power Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, NextEra Energy ( NEE) is up $0.69 (0.5%) to $128.27 on average volume. Thus far, 771,814 shares of NextEra Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $127.59-$128.67 after having opened the day at $127.74 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $127.58.

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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 $58.7 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 22.8% 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 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 generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated. Get the full NextEra Energy Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Duke Energy ( DUK) is up $0.42 (0.5%) to $85.34 on light volume. Thus far, 1.1 million shares of Duke Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $85.00-$85.63 after having opened the day at $85.13 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $84.92.

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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 $58.4 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 18.9% 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 11 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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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).