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Priceline.com Inc. (PCLN): Today's Featured Services Winner

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

Priceline.com ( PCLN) pushed the Services sector higher today making it today's featured services winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.2%. By the end of trading, Priceline.com rose $8.97 (1.4%) to $657.38 on light volume. Throughout the day, 553,667 shares of Priceline.com exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 777,900 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $644.37-$659.99 after having opened the day at $648 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $648.41. Other companies within the Services sector that increased today were: FreeSeas ( FREE), up 126.4%, Radio One Inc. Class D ( ROIAK), up 18.1%, Paragon Shipping ( PRGN), up 18%, and Radio One ( ROIA), up 13.6%.

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priceline.com Incorporated, together with its subsidiaries, operates as an online travel company. Priceline.com has a market cap of $32.35 billion and is part of the leisure industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.5, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 4.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 13 analysts that rate Priceline.com a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and four rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Priceline.com as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, robust revenue growth and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

On the negative front, ITT Educational Services ( ESI), down 19.3%, PokerTek ( PTEK), down 16.9%, Noah Education Holdings ( NED), down 13.1%, and DLH Holdings ( DLHC), down 12.5%, were all laggards within the services sector with News Corporation ( NWSA) being today's services sector laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the services sector could consider iShares Dow Jones US Cons Services ( IYC) while those bearish on the services sector could consider ProShares Ultra Short Consumer Sers ( SCC).

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