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Are Utilities Stocks Lagging Atmos Energy (ATO) This Year?

Investors interested in Utilities stocks should always be looking to find the best-performing companies in the group. Has Atmos Energy (ATO) been one of those stocks this year? A quick glance at the company's year-to-date performance in comparison to the rest of the Utilities sector should help us answer this question.

Atmos Energy is a member of our Utilities group, which includes 104 different companies and currently sits at #10 in the Zacks Sector Rank. The Zacks Sector Rank considers 16 different groups, measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the sector to gauge the strength of each group.

The Zacks Rank emphasizes earnings estimates and estimate revisions to find stocks with improving earnings outlooks. This system has a long record of success, and these stocks tend to be on track to beat the market over the next one to three months. Atmos Energy is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).

Within the past quarter, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for ATO's full-year earnings has moved 0.6% higher. This is a sign of improving analyst sentiment and a positive earnings outlook trend.


Based on the latest available data, ATO has gained about 1% so far this year. At the same time, Utilities stocks have lost an average of 0.2%. This means that Atmos Energy is outperforming the sector as a whole this year.

Another Utilities stock, which has outperformed the sector so far this year, is Veolia Environnement SA (VEOEY). The stock has returned 1.2% year-to-date.

Over the past three months, Veolia Environnement SA's consensus EPS estimate for the current year has increased 5.7%. 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 14 individual companies and currently sits at #214 in the Zacks Industry Rank. This group has gained an average of 0.1% so far this year, so ATO is performing better in this area.

Veolia Environnement SA, however, belongs to the Utility - Water Supply industry. Currently, this 13-stock industry is ranked #16. The industry has moved -5% so far this year.

Investors interested in the Utilities sector may want to keep a close eye on Atmos Energy and Veolia Environnement SA as they attempt to continue their solid performance.

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Zacks Investment Research