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.

All three major indices traded up today with the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

(

^DJI

) trading up 4 points (0.0%) at 17,515 as of Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, 4:20 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,216 issues advancing vs. 1,900 declining with 118 unchanged.

The Services sector as a whole closed the day down 0.7% versus the S&P 500, which was up 0.2%. Top gainers within the Services sector included

China Metro-Rural Holdings

(

CNR

), up 3.5%,

Gray Television

(

GTN.A

), up 3.0%,

Acorn International

(

ATV

), up 3.7%,

Spar Group

(

SGRP

), up 2.2% and

Learning Tree International

(

LTRE

), up 5.1%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

Spar Group

(

SGRP

TheStreet Recommends

) is one of the companies that pushed the Services sector higher today. Spar Group was up $0.03 (2.2%) to $1.51 on light volume. Throughout the day, 600 shares of Spar Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8,100 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $1.39-$1.51 after having opened the day at $1.39 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $1.48.

SPAR Group Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides merchandising and other marketing services worldwide. Spar Group has a market cap of $30.4 million and is part of the consumer durables industry. Shares are up 5.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Spar Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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

TheStreet Ratings rates Spar Group as a

hold

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including poor profit margins and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on SGRP go as follows:

  • SGRP's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 8.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.7%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displaying stagnant earnings per share.
  • SGRP's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.28 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, SGRP has a quick ratio of 2.02, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • SPAR GROUP INC reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, SPAR GROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.15 versus $0.13 in the prior year.
  • SGRP has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 22.17% from its price level of one year ago. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.
  • The gross profit margin for SPAR GROUP INC is rather low; currently it is at 23.56%. Regardless of SGRP's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, SGRP's net profit margin of 1.23% is significantly lower than the industry average.

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

Spar Group 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.

At the close,

Acorn International

(

ATV

) was up $0.05 (3.7%) to $1.39 on light volume. Throughout the day, 5,235 shares of Acorn International exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7,800 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $1.23-$1.39 after having opened the day at $1.36 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $1.34.

Acorn International, Inc., an integrated multi-platform marketing company, develops, promotes, and sells a portfolio of proprietary-branded products; and third parties products. The company operates two sales platforms, including integrated direct sales and a nationwide distribution network. Acorn International has a market cap of $37.0 million and is part of the consumer durables industry. Shares are down 20.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Acorn International a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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

TheStreet Ratings rates Acorn International as a

sell

. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on ATV go as follows:

  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Internet & Catalog Retail industry and the overall market, ACORN INTERNATIONAL INC -ADR's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • ATV has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 10.76% from its price level of one year ago. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • ACORN INTERNATIONAL INC -ADR has improved earnings per share by 15.4% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ACORN INTERNATIONAL INC -ADR reported poor results of -$1.45 versus -$0.59 in the prior year.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 12.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 44.8%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • 39.76% is the gross profit margin for ACORN INTERNATIONAL INC -ADR which we consider to be strong. Regardless of ATV's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, ATV's net profit margin of -28.10% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

Acorn International 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.

China Metro-Rural Holdings

(

CNR

) was another company that pushed the Services sector higher today. China Metro-Rural Holdings was up $0.03 (3.5%) to $0.88 on light volume. Throughout the day, 750 shares of China Metro-Rural Holdings exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7,600 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $0.86-$0.88 after having opened the day at $0.86 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.85.

China Metro-Rural Holdings has a market cap of $62.5 million and is part of the consumer durables industry. Shares are down 7.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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.