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Do you consider a company's sales trends when comparing stocks? Because many companies earn a majority of their profits through revenue, a sales analysis is an important part of almost any company's story.

To illustrate, we ran a screen. We began by screening the utilities sector for stocks with strong upward momentum, trading within 5% of their 52-week highs.

Then to look deeper into their sales trends, we compared growth in revenue to growth in inventory over the last year. We screened for stocks with negative sales trends, with faster growth in inventory than revenue over the last year. Since inventory represents the portion of goods not yet sold, slower growth in revenue than inventory is considered a negative sign.

To screen for declining liquidity, we also only focused on those companies with inventory increasing as a percent of current assets.

(click to enlarge)

Do you think these companies are in trouble? Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis.

List sorted by change in revenue over the last year.

1. NiSource Inc. (NI): Provides natural gas, electricity, and other products and services. Market cap at $7.04B, most recent closing price at $24.50. The stock is trading 4.40% below its 52-week high. Revenue grew by -25.67% during the most recent quarter ($1,658.7M vs. $2,231.6M y/y). Inventory grew by 63.3% during the same time period ($354.2M vs. $216.9M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 10.93% to 17.98% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-03-31 to 3 months ending 2011-03-31).

2. CMS Energy Corp. (CMS): Operates as an energy company primarily in Michigan. Market cap at $6.03B, most recent closing price at $22.86. The stock is trading 1.73% below its 52-week high. Revenue grew by -15.18% during the most recent quarter ($1,743M vs. $2,055M y/y). Inventory grew by 24.72% during the same time period ($888M vs. $712M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 25.98% to 39.15% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-03-31 to 3 months ending 2011-03-31).

3. Dominion Resources, Inc. (D): Engages in producing and transporting energy in the United States. Market cap at $29.99B, most recent closing price at $52.01. The stock is trading 2.10% below its 52-week high. Revenue grew by -13.93% during the most recent quarter ($3,492M vs. $4,057M y/y). Inventory grew by 19.64% during the same time period ($1,249M vs. $1,044M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 21.17% to 24.89% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-03-31 to 3 months ending 2011-03-31).

4. SCANA Corp. (SCG): And its subsidiaries engage in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity to retail and wholesale customers in South Carolina. Market cap at $6.06B, most recent closing price at $46.15. The stock is trading 1.71% below its 52-week high. Revenue grew by -13.58% during the most recent quarter ($1,107M vs. $1,281M y/y). Inventory grew by 5.49% during the same time period ($442M vs. $419M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 30.04% to 32.52% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-03-31 to 3 months ending 2011-03-31).

5. Ameren Corporation (AEE): Operates as a public utility company in Missouri and Illinois, the United States. Market cap at $7.86B, most recent closing price at $32.05. The stock is trading 4.13% below its 52-week high. Revenue grew by -12.92% during the most recent quarter ($1,658M vs. $1,904M y/y). Inventory grew by 9.27% during the same time period ($625M vs. $572M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 21.07% to 29.43% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-03-31 to 3 months ending 2011-03-31).

6. Alliant Energy Corporation (LNT): Operates in electric and gas utility businesses in the United States. Market cap at $4.9B, most recent closing price at $43.64. The stock is trading 4.88% below its 52-week high. Revenue grew by -12.71% during the most recent quarter ($765.7M vs. $877.2M y/y). Inventory grew by 17.57% during the same time period ($200.1M vs. $170.2M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 17.42% to 25.63% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-03-31 to 3 months ending 2011-03-31).

7. Cleco Corporation (CNL): Engages in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity in Louisiana. Market cap at $2.45B, most recent closing price at $40.20. The stock is trading 2.53% below its 52-week high. Revenue grew by -12.19% during the most recent quarter ($222.77M vs. $253.69M y/y). Inventory grew by -6.85% during the same time period ($99.75M vs. $107.08M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 21.66% to 25.8% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-03-31 to 3 months ending 2011-03-31).

8. Vectren Corporation (VVC): Provides energy delivery services to residential, commercial, and industrial and other customers in Indiana and west central Ohio. Market cap at $2.37B, most recent closing price at $28.69. The stock is trading 4.70% below its 52-week high. Revenue grew by -11.43% during the most recent quarter ($604.6M vs. $682.6M y/y). Inventory grew by 11.4% during the same time period ($147.5M vs. $132.4M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 23.89% to 29.79% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-03-31 to 3 months ending 2011-03-31).

9. Wisconsin Energy Corp. (WEC): Engages in the generation, distribution, and sale of electric energy and steam. Market cap at $8.58B, most recent closing price at $36.96. The stock is trading 1.23% below its 52-week high. Revenue grew by -10.35% during the most recent quarter ($1,191.2M vs. $1,328.7M y/y). Inventory grew by 9.56% during the same time period ($311.6M vs. $284.4M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 19.48% to 24.35% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-03-31 to 3 months ending 2011-03-31).

10. UniSource Energy Corporation (UNS): Engages in the electric generation and energy delivery businesses. Market cap at $1.47B, most recent closing price at $36.48. The stock is trading 4.86% below its 52-week high. Revenue grew by -7.51% during the most recent quarter ($318.87M vs. $344.77M y/y). Inventory grew by 44.3% during the same time period ($128.63M vs. $89.14M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 22.89% to 25.33% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-03-31 to 3 months ending 2011-03-31).

11. DTE Energy Co. (DTE): Operates as an electric and natural gas utility company in Michigan. Market cap at $9.55B, most recent closing price at $55.81. The stock is trading 2.18% below its 52-week high. Revenue grew by -7.49% during the most recent quarter ($2,249M vs. $2,431M y/y). Inventory grew by 24.25% during the same time period ($666M vs. $536M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 19.14% to 22.57% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-03-31 to 3 months ending 2011-03-31).

12. Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (PNW): Provides retail and wholesale electric services primarily in the State of Arizona. Market cap at $5.33B, most recent closing price at $48.51. The stock is trading 1.44% below its 52-week high. Revenue grew by -4.35% during the most recent quarter ($620.63M vs. $648.85M y/y). Inventory grew by 32.26% during the same time period ($240.14M vs. $181.57M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 18.95% to 26.54% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-03-31 to 3 months ending 2011-03-31).

13. Duke Energy Corporation (DUK): Operates as an energy company in the Americas. Market cap at $28.97B, most recent closing price at $21.62. The stock is trading 0.46% below its 52-week high. Revenue grew by -0.9% during the most recent quarter ($3,630M vs. $3,663M y/y). Inventory grew by 30.22% during the same time period ($1,754M vs. $1,347M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 24.29% to 29.61% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-03-31 to 3 months ending 2011-03-31).

14. NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE): Engages in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electric energy in the United States and Canada. Market cap at $27.36B, most recent closing price at $65.11. The stock is trading 1.74% below its 52-week high. Revenue grew by 7.56% during the most recent quarter ($3,371M vs. $3,134M y/y). Inventory grew by 24.8% during the same time period ($1,092M vs. $875M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 19.36% to 21.44% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-03-31 to 3 months ending 2011-03-31).

*Accounting data sourced from Google Finance, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Source: 14 Utilities Trading Near Highs With Negative Inventory Trends