5 Stocks Pushing The Services Sector Lower

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

One out of the three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 9 points (-0.1%) at 12,786 as of Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, 11:49 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,471 issues advancing vs. 1,424 declining with 128 unchanged.

The Services sector currently sits up 0.1% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.0%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Best Buy ( BBY), down 11.7%, Patterson Companies ( PDCO), down 7.5%, Signet Jewelers ( SIG), down 2.8%, Dollar General Corporation ( DG), down 1.5% and Yum Brands ( YUM), down 1.2%. Top gainers within the sector include DSW ( DSW), up 8.3%, Charter Communications ( CHTR), up 3.6%, InterContinental Hotels Group ( IHG), up 3.1%, Sears Holdings Corporation ( SHLD), up 3.0% and Whirlpool Corporation ( WHR), up 2.9%.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 5 stocks pushing the sector lower today:

5. Apollo Group ( APOL) is one of the companies pushing the Services sector lower today. As of noon trading, Apollo Group is down $0.88 (-4.5%) to $18.74 on average volume Thus far, 1.0 million shares of Apollo Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $18.65-$19.60 after having opened the day at $19.60 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $19.62.

Apollo Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides online and on-campus educational programs and services at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral levels. Apollo Group has a market cap of $2.2 billion and is part of the diversified services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.1, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 63.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Apollo Group a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Apollo Group as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and weak operating cash flow. Get the full Apollo Group Ratings Report now.

4. As of noon trading, Safeway ( SWY) is down $0.45 (-2.7%) to $16.31 on light volume Thus far, 2.3 million shares of Safeway exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $16.17-$16.74 after having opened the day at $16.70 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $16.76.

Safeway Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a food and drug retailer in North America. Safeway has a market cap of $4.0 billion and is part of the retail industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.9, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 21.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 5 analysts that rate Safeway a buy, 4 analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Safeway as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, notable return on equity and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow. Get the full Safeway Ratings Report now.

3. As of noon trading, Western Union Company ( WU) is down $0.32 (-2.5%) to $12.42 on average volume Thus far, 6.0 million shares of Western Union Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $12.38-$12.55 after having opened the day at $12.46 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $12.74.

The Western Union Company provides money movement and payment services worldwide. The company operates in two segments, Consumer-to-Consumer and Global Business Payments. Western Union Company has a market cap of $7.6 billion and is part of the diversified services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 30.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate Western Union Company a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 18 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Western Union Company as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself. Get the full Western Union Company Ratings Report now.

2. As of noon trading, Cardinal Health ( CAH) is down $0.30 (-0.8%) to $39.33 on average volume Thus far, 1.5 million shares of Cardinal Health exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $38.76-$39.40 after having opened the day at $39.25 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $39.63.

Cardinal Health, Inc., a healthcare services company, provides pharmaceutical and medical products and services in the United States and internationally. The company operates in two segments, Pharmaceutical and Medical. Cardinal Health has a market cap of $13.4 billion and is part of the wholesale industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.4, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 3.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Cardinal Health a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Cardinal Health as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations 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. Get the full Cardinal Health Ratings Report now.

1. As of noon trading, Staples ( SPLS) is down $0.34 (-2.7%) to $11.87 on light volume Thus far, 4.3 million shares of Staples exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 14.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $11.80-$12.18 after having opened the day at $12.13 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $12.20.

Staples, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an office products company. The company offers various office supplies and services, office machines and related products, computers and related products, and office furniture under Staples, Quill, and other proprietary brands. Staples has a market cap of $7.9 billion and is part of the specialty retail industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 391.0, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 15.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Staples a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Staples as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have evaluated. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins. Get the full Staples Ratings Report now.

If you are interested in one of these 5 stocks, 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).

A reminder about TheStreet Ratings group: 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.

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