Baird upgraded Nicor (GAS)to outperform from neutral.
Analyst David Parker says with a pullback in average utility prices, signs of price stabilization, and selective support, he now expects average to above-average total returns for utilities in the near term.
Parker says he expects a recovery of the sector will roll from lower-risk to higher-risk investments. As a result, he recommends that investors seeking stocks with an attractive, near-term performance including a good yield should limit their investments to companies that he classifies as "distribution" companies. As a result, he upgraded Nicor, Hawaiian Electric, Progress Energy, Vectren, and Wisconsin Energy to outperform from neutral.