It's been a pretty rough year for stock investors, with the S&P basically ending flat in 2011. While the general market went nowhere last year, quite a few stocks poured in monster performances.

Utilities in general rose this past year, driven by stable businesses and strong dividends.

iShares Dow Jones U.S. Utilities Sector Index Fund Total Return Price Chart


iShares Dow Jones U.S. Utilities Sector Index Fund Total Return Price Chart by YCharts

Here's a list of this year's top 15 performers in the utilities industry:

 

Company

YTD Return

1 Transportadora de Gas Del Sur (NYSE: TGS)  78.5%
2 ONEOK (NYSE: OKE)  61.3%
3 PNM Resources  45.3%
4 NiSource (NYSE: NI)  40.5%
5 Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (NYSE: BIP)  39.7%
6 Cia Energetica de Minas Gerais (NYSE: CIG)  38.1%
7 CPFL Energia (NYSE: CPL)  36.5%
8 Progress Energy  36.3%
9 CenterPoint Energy  34.9%
10 Constellation Energy Group  33.7%
11 NorthWestern  32.8%
12 American Water Works  32.8%
13 Consolidated Edison (NYSE: ED)  31.8%
14 El Paso Electric  31.6%
15 Dominion Resources  30.3%

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Only includes companies listed on U.S. exchanges with a market capitalization greater than $500 million.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.