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3 Stocks Pushing The Services Sector Lower

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.

The Services sector as a whole closed the day down 1.3% versus the S&P 500, which was down 0.5%. Laggards within the Services sector included Learning Tree International ( LTRE), down 3.0%, Rada Electronics Industries ( RADA), down 4.2%, Spar Group ( SGRP), down 2.6%, Lime Energy ( LIME), down 2.7% and RLJ Entertainment ( RLJE), down 3.0%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks that pushed the sector lower today:

Lime Energy ( LIME) is one of the companies that pushed the Services sector lower today. Lime Energy was down $0.07 (2.7%) to $2.50 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 9,809 shares of Lime Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6,300 shares. The stock ranged in price between $2.50-$2.68 after having opened the day at $2.59 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $2.57.

Lime Energy Co. is engaged in designing and implementing energy efficiency programs for utilities in the United States. Lime Energy has a market cap of $9.6 million and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are down 11.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Lime Energy as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its weak operating cash flow, poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on LIME go as follows:

  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$6.94 million or 339.08% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • The gross profit margin for LIME ENERGY CO is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 31.90%. Regardless of LIME's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, LIME's net profit margin of -9.51% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • LIME's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 48.62%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Electrical Equipment industry and the overall market, LIME ENERGY CO's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • LIME has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Despite the fact that LIME's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.63, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Lime Energy Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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