Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM): Today's Featured Retail Winner

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

Whole Foods Market ( WFM) pushed the Retail industry higher today making it today's featured retail winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.1%. By the end of trading, Whole Foods Market rose $1.26 (1.4%) to $91.57 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 2.3 million shares of Whole Foods Market exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.3 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $88.90-$91.90 after having opened the day at $90.02 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $90.31. Other companies within the Retail industry that increased today were: Bidz.com ( BIDZ), up 17.3%, E-Commerce China Dangdang ( DANG), up 5.7%, Gaiam Inc. Class A ( GAIA), up 4.8%, and Vitacost.com ( VITC), up 3.3%.
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Whole Foods Market, Inc. engages in the ownership and operation of natural and organic food supermarkets. The company offers produce, seafood, grocery, meat and poultry, bakery, prepared foods and catering, coffee and tea, nutritional supplements, and vitamins. Whole Foods Market has a market cap of $17.72 billion and is part of the services sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 38.7, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 37.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 16 analysts that rate Whole Foods Market a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and eight rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Whole Foods Market as a buy. 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value.

On the negative front, Roundys ( RNDY), down 21.4%, Coastal Contacts ( COA), down 12.9%, QKL Stores ( QKLS), down 8.6%, and Alon Holdings Blue Square - Israel ( BSI), down 5.4%, were all laggards within the retail industry with Lowe's Companies ( LOW) being today's retail industry laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the retail industry could consider SPDR S&P Retail ETF ( XRT) while those bearish on the retail industry could consider ProShares Ultra Sht Consumer Goods ( SZK).

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