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Time to Buy These Highly Ranked Utility Sector Stocks

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The Zacks Utilities sector is down -15% this year but currently ranked second out of 16 Zacks sectors as many of these stocks appear to be on the cusp of oversold territory and there are a few outperformers that remain attractive as well.

Among the sector, the Zacks Utility-Electric Power Industry stands out in particular which is home to a number of highly ranked stocks and currently in the top 29% of over 250 Zacks industries.

To that point, here are several of these top utility stocks to consider right now.

Otter Tail (OTTR - Free Report)

Following the trend of earnings estimate revisions points to more upside in Otter Tail’s stock despite OTTR shares rising +28% this year to outperform many of its Zacks Utilities sector peers and the S&P 500’s +13%.

Otter provides electric energy in Minnesota and the Dakotas among other services that include manufacturing activities such as contract machining for the fabrication of metals and plastic parts.  

Most intriguing is that Otter’s fiscal 2023 earnings estimates have soared 23% in the last 60 days with FY24 EPS estimates climbing 24%. Even better, Otter's stock still trades at a reasonable 12.7X forward earnings multiple with the rising EPS estimates offering further support.   

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TransAlta (TAC - Free Report)

Next up, TransAlta’s expansive bottom line growth makes its stock very compelling with the company expected to soar past the probability line this year.

Starting to display its lucrative earnings potential, TransAlta is the largest non-regulated electric generation company in Canada. TransAlta’s stock is down -7% YTD but the recent selloff in TAC shares may be overdone with FY23 earnings now forecasted at $1.45 per share compared to an adjusted loss of -$0.08 a share last year.

Fiscal 2024 earnings are expected to drop to $0.59 a share but estimates have risen 13% over the last two months. Notably, FY23 EPS estimates have climbed 32% in the last 60 days.

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Vistra (VST - Free Report)

Lastly, Vistra Energy's stock also stands out for its expansive EPS growth with notable top-line expansion as well. Providing electricity and power generation primarily in Texas, Vistra’s stock has soared +40% in 2023.

Vistra’s stellar stock performance may have legs as EPS estimates are up nicely over the last 30 days. Annual earnings are now expected to rebound and skyrocket to $3.54 per share versus an adjusted loss of -$2.94 a share in 2022. Fiscal 2024 earnings are expected to climb another 24% at $4.39 per share.

More impressive, sales are anticipated at $20.29 billion in FY23 compared to $13.73 billion last year. Plus, FY24 sales are expected to rise another 7%.

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Bottom Line

Now looks like a great time to buy these utility sector stocks with these companies offering vital energy services to their respective demographics. With a strengthening earnings outlook, Otter Tail, TransAlta, and Vistra Energy stock currently boast a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and it’s noteworthy that they offer generous dividend yields above the S&P 500’s 1.49% average.

See More Zacks Research for These Tickers

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TransAlta Corporation (TAC) - free report >>

Otter Tail Corporation (OTTR) - free report >>

Vistra Corp. (VST) - free report >>

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