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Kroger Co (KR): Today's Featured Services Laggard

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

Kroger (KR) pushed the Services sector lower today making it today's featured Services laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.3%. By the end of trading, Kroger fell $0.56 (-1.5%) to $36.79 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 6,821,691 shares of Kroger exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,357,400 shares. The stock ranged in price between $36.56-$37.50 after having opened the day at $37.46 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $37.35. Other companies within the Services sector that declined today were: Performant Financial (PFMT), down 14.9%, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW), down 12.8%, Best Buy (BBY), down 8.9% and Strayer Education (STRA), down 8.3%.

The Kroger Co., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a retailer in the United States. The company also manufactures and processes food for sale in its supermarkets. It operates retail food and drug stores, multi-department stores, jewelry stores, and convenience stores. Kroger has a market cap of $20.3 billion and is part of the retail industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 5.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Kroger a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Kroger as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front, Armco Metals Holdings (AMCO), up 54.1%, Rentrak Corporation (RENT), up 14.4%, Sport Chalet (SPCHB), up 13.3% and QKL Stores (QKLS), up 12.9% , were all gainers within the services sector with O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY) being today's featured services sector leader.

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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