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.

Southwest Airlines ( LUV) pushed the Transportation industry higher today making it today's featured transportation winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.4%. By the end of trading, Southwest Airlines rose 9 cents (1%) to $8.93 on average volume. Throughout the day, 7.6 million shares of Southwest Airlines exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.6 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $8.70-$8.94 after having opened the day at $8.83 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $8.84. Other companies within the Transportation industry that increased today were: Global Ship Lease ( GSL), up 12.3%, International Shipholding Corporation ( ISH), up 9.6%, DS Torm ( TRMD), up 7.7%, and Tsakos Energy Navigation ( TNP), up 7.4%.
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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 $6.46 billion and is part of the services sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.5, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 2.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are six analysts that rate Southwest Airlines a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and six 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 solid stock price performance, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

On the negative front, Newlead Holdings ( NEWL), down 11.5%, Swift Transportation ( SWFT), down 4.4%, Gol Intelligent Airlines ( GOL), down 4.1%, and Baltic Trading ( BALT), down 4%, were all laggards within the transportation industry with Norfolk Southern Corporation ( NSC) being today's transportation industry laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the transportation industry could consider iShares Dow Jones Transportation ( IYT) while those bearish on the transportation industry could consider ProShares UltraShort Industrials ( SIJ).

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