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

Kroger ( KR) pushed the Services sector lower today making it today's featured Services laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.2%. By the end of trading, Kroger fell 39 cents (-1.8%) to $21.59 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 10 million shares of Kroger exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of six million shares. The stock ranged in price between $21.52-$22.15 after having opened the day at $22.08 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $21.98. Other company's within the Services sector that declined today were: Ignite Restaurant Group ( IRG), down 20.5%, Overseas Shipholding Group ( OSG), down 16.8%, Seven Arts Entertainment ( SAPX), down 16.5%, and Diana Containerships ( DCIX), down 14.6%.

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. Kroger has a market cap of $11.96 billion and is part of the retail industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.3, equal to the average retail industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 9.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are nine analysts that rate Kroger a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and seven 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, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

On the positive front, DS Torm ( TRMD), up 38.1%, General Employment ( JOB), up 22.9%, China Auto Logistics ( CALI), up 22.6%, and American Learning ( ALRN), up 18.6%, were all gainers within the services sector with McDonald's Corporation ( MCD) 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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