5 Stocks Pushing The Services Sector Higher

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

All three major indices are trading up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 17 points (0.1%) at 13,052 as of Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 11:50 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,459 issues advancing vs. 1,413 declining with 145 unchanged.

The Services sector currently sits up 0.2% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.2%. Top gainers within the sector include New Oriental Education & Technology Group I ( EDU), up 8.0%, AthenaHealth ( ATHN), up 7.1%, MGM Resorts International ( MGM), up 7.0%, Netflix ( NFLX), up 5.1% and Safeway ( SWY), up 4.8%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include UTi Worldwide ( UTIW), down 8.8%, SAIC ( SAI), down 3.0%, Expeditors International of Washington ( EXPD), down 2.0%, CH Robinson Worldwide ( CHRW), down 1.5% and Norfolk Southern Corporation ( NSC), down 0.7%.

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

5. TJX Companies ( TJX) is one of the companies pushing the Services sector higher today. As of noon trading, TJX Companies is up $0.44 (1.0%) to $43.77 on light volume Thus far, 1.4 million shares of TJX Companies exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $43.01-$43.78 after having opened the day at $43.24 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $43.33.

The TJX Companies, Inc. operates as an off-price apparel and home fashions retailer in the United States and internationally. TJX Companies has a market cap of $31.6 billion and is part of the retail industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.4, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 34.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate TJX Companies a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates TJX Companies as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth, notable return on equity and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full TJX Companies Ratings Report now.

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4. As of noon trading, Yum Brands ( YUM) is up $1.45 (2.2%) to $67.35 on heavy volume Thus far, 2.9 million shares of Yum Brands exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $65.53-$68.09 after having opened the day at $66.01 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $65.90.

YUM! Brands, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates quick service restaurants in the United States and internationally. Yum Brands has a market cap of $29.8 billion and is part of the leisure industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.6, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 11.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 13 analysts that rate Yum Brands a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Yum Brands as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated. Get the full Yum Brands Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, Las Vegas Sands ( LVS) is up $1.37 (3.2%) to $43.93 on average volume Thus far, 4.6 million shares of Las Vegas Sands exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $42.67-$44.33 after having opened the day at $42.79 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $42.56.

Las Vegas Sands Corp., together with its subsidiaries, owns, develops, and operates various integrated resort properties primarily in the United States, Macau, and Singapore. Las Vegas Sands has a market cap of $37.4 billion and is part of the leisure industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 26.6, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 6.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 14 analysts that rate Las Vegas Sands a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Las Vegas Sands 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, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Las Vegas Sands Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Visa ( V) is up $0.76 (0.5%) to $148.82 on light volume Thus far, 709,537 shares of Visa exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $147.06-$148.90 after having opened the day at $148.45 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $148.06.

Visa Inc., a payments technology company, engages in the operation of retail electronic payments network worldwide. It facilitates commerce through the transfer of value and information among financial institutions, merchants, consumers, businesses, and government entities. Visa has a market cap of $79.0 billion and is part of the diversified services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 46.7, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 45.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 22 analysts that rate Visa a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Visa 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, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full Visa Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Comcast ( CMCSA) is up $0.25 (0.7%) to $37.13 on light volume Thus far, 2.9 million shares of Comcast exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 12.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $36.80-$37.17 after having opened the day at $36.92 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $36.88.

Comcast Corporation provides entertainment, information, and communications products and services in the United States and internationally. The company's Cable Communications segment offers video, high-speed Internet, and voice services to residential and business customers. Comcast has a market cap of $78.8 billion and is part of the media industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.0, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 55.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 17 analysts that rate Comcast a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Comcast as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, robust revenue growth and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full Comcast Ratings Report now.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Jim Cramer's Protégé, Dave Peltier, only buys Stocks Under $10 that he thinks could potentially double. See what he's trading today with a 14-day FREE pass

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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