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Is Atmos Energy (ATO) Stock Outpacing Its Utilities Peers This Year?

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Investors focused on the Utilities space have likely heard of Atmos Energy (ATO - Free Report) , but is the stock performing well in comparison to the rest of its sector peers? 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 one of 122 individual stocks in the Utilities sector. Collectively, these companies sit at #10 in the Zacks Sector Rank. The Zacks Sector Rank considers 16 different sector groups. The average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups is measured, and the sectors are listed from best to worst.

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. ATO 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 0.37% higher. This is a sign of improving analyst sentiment and a positive earnings outlook trend.

According to our latest data, ATO has moved about 16.20% on a year-to-date basis. Meanwhile, stocks in the Utilities group have gained about 15.81% on average. This means that Atmos Energy is performing better than its sector in terms of year-to-date returns.

To break things down more, ATO belongs to the Utility - Gas Distribution industry, a group that includes 18 individual companies and currently sits at #84 in the Zacks Industry Rank. This group has gained an average of 22.17% so far this year, so ATO is slightly underperforming its industry in this area.

Investors in the Utilities sector will want to keep a close eye on ATO as it attempts to continue its solid performance.

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