Southwest Airlines Co (LUV): Today's Featured Services Winner

Southwest Airlines ( LUV) pushed the Services sector higher today making it today's featured services winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.9%. By the end of trading, Southwest Airlines rose 39 cents (4.2%) to $9.63 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 17.3 million shares of Southwest Airlines exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9.7 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $9.43-$9.77 after having opened the day at $9.43 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $9.24. Other companies within the Services sector that increased today were: SED International Holdings ( SED), up 31.2%, LML Payment Systems ( LMLP), up 9.7%, SmartPros ( SPRO), up 8.2%, and Noah Education Holdings ( NED), up 7.7%.

Southwest Airlines Co. engages in the operation of a passenger airline that provides scheduled air transportation in the United States. Southwest Airlines has a market cap of $7.12 billion and is part of the transportation industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 26.5, above the average transportation industry P/E ratio of 25.8 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are seven analysts that rate Southwest Airlines a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and seven rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Southwest Airlines as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

On the negative front, China HGS Real Estate ( HGSH), down 22%, Destination Maternity ( DEST), down 19.6%, CD International ( CDII), down 16.1%, and DLH Holdings ( DLHC), down 12.8%, were all losers within the services sector with Expedia ( EXPE) being today's services sector loser.

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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