For those looking to find strong Utilities stocks, it is prudent to search for companies in the group that are outperforming their peers. Atmos Energy (ATO) is a stock that can certainly grab the attention of many investors, but do its recent returns compare favorably to the sector as a whole? By taking a look at the stock's year-to-date performance in comparison to its Utilities peers, we might be able to answer that question.
Atmos Energy is a member of our Utilities group, which includes 108 different companies and currently sits at #4 in the Zacks Sector Rank. The Zacks Sector Rank gauges the strength of our 16 individual sector groups by measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups.
The Zacks Rank is a proven system that emphasizes earnings estimates and estimate revisions, highlighting a variety of stocks that are displaying the right characteristics to beat the market over the next one to three months. Atmos Energy is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for ATO's full-year earnings has moved 1% higher within the past quarter. This shows that analyst sentiment has improved and the company's earnings outlook is stronger.
According to our latest data, ATO has moved about 4.2% on a year-to-date basis. Meanwhile, stocks in the Utilities group have lost about 4.3% on average. This shows that Atmos Energy is outperforming its peers so far this year.
Another Utilities stock, which has outperformed the sector so far this year, is Consolidated Water (CWCO). The stock has returned 57.7% year-to-date.
In Consolidated Water's case, the consensus EPS estimate for the current year increased 9% over the past three months. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
To break things down more, Atmos Energy belongs to the Utility - Gas Distribution industry, a group that includes 15 individual companies and currently sits at #60 in the Zacks Industry Rank. Stocks in this group have gained about 7.5% so far this year, so ATO is slightly underperforming its industry this group in terms of year-to-date returns.
In contrast, Consolidated Water falls under the Utility - Water Supply industry. Currently, this industry has 12 stocks and is ranked #96. Since the beginning of the year, the industry has moved -20.4%.
Investors with an interest in Utilities stocks should continue to track Atmos Energy and Consolidated Water. These stocks will be looking to continue their solid performance.
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
Atmos Energy Corporation (ATO) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. (CWCO) : Free Stock Analysis Report
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
Zacks Investment Research