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Has Atmos Energy (ATO) Outpaced Other Utilities Stocks This Year?

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Investors interested in Utilities stocks should always be looking to find the best-performing companies in the group. Atmos Energy (ATO - Free Report) 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 the Utilities sector. This group includes 108 individual stocks and currently holds a Zacks Sector Rank of #4. 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 successful stock-picking model that emphasizes earnings estimates and estimate revisions. The system highlights a number of different stocks that could be poised to outperform the broader market over the next one to three months. Atmos Energy is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).

Over the past three months, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for ATO's full-year earnings has moved 0.9% higher. This means that analyst sentiment is stronger and the stock's earnings outlook is improving.

According to our latest data, ATO has moved about 12.6% on a year-to-date basis. Meanwhile, stocks in the Utilities group have gained about 4.3% on average. This means that Atmos Energy is outperforming the sector as a whole this year.

Consolidated Water (CWCO - Free Report) is another Utilities stock that has outperformed the sector so far this year. Since the beginning of the year, the stock has returned 55.5%.

For Consolidated Water, the consensus EPS estimate for the current year has increased 9% over the past three months. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Looking more specifically, Atmos Energy belongs to the Utility - Gas Distribution industry, which includes 15 individual stocks and currently sits at #54 in the Zacks Industry Rank. On average, stocks in this group have gained 17% this year, meaning that ATO is slightly underperforming its industry in terms of year-to-date returns.

On the other hand, Consolidated Water belongs to the Utility - Water Supply industry. This 12-stock industry is currently ranked #97. The industry has moved -11.1% year to date.

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

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