4 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

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%. 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%. 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%.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 4 stocks pushing the sector lower today:

4. Ascena Retail Group ( ASNA) is one of the companies pushing the Services sector lower today. As of noon trading, Ascena Retail Group is down $0.72 (-3.6%) to $19.08 on heavy volume Thus far, 2.8 million shares of Ascena Retail Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $18.76-$19.51 after having opened the day at $19.08 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $19.79.

Ascena Retail Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as a specialty retailer of apparel for women and tween girls. Its principal retail brands comprise Justice, Lane Bryant, maurices, dressbarn, and Catherines brands. Ascena Retail Group has a market cap of $3.1 billion and is part of the retail industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.2, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 163.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Ascena Retail Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ascena Retail Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, reasonable valuation levels, 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 sub par growth in net income. Get the full Ascena Retail Group Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, Sears Holdings Corporation ( SHLD) is down $0.97 (-2.4%) to $40.24 on average volume Thus far, 796,265 shares of Sears Holdings Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $39.20-$41.39 after having opened the day at $41.15 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $41.21.

Sears Holdings Corporation operates as a specialty retailer in the United States and Canada. The company's Kmart segment operates stores that sell merchandise under Jaclyn Smith and Joe Boxer labels; and Sears brand products, such as Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard. Sears Holdings Corporation has a market cap of $4.6 billion and is part of the retail industry. Shares are up 34.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are no analysts that rate Sears Holdings Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Sears Holdings Corporation as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow. Get the full Sears Holdings Corporation Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Scripps Networks Interactive ( SNI) is down $1.26 (-2.2%) to $56.44 on heavy volume Thus far, 1.1 million shares of Scripps Networks Interactive exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 805,700 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $55.88-$57.00 after having opened the day at $56.65 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $57.70.

Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. operates as a lifestyle content company in the United States and internationally. It engages in the operation of television networks, including Home and Garden Television, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Cooking Channel, and Great American Country. Scripps Networks Interactive has a market cap of $6.8 billion and is part of the media industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.1, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 39.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Scripps Networks Interactive a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Scripps Networks Interactive 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 solid stock price performance. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook. Get the full Scripps Networks Interactive Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, W.W. Grainger ( GWW) is down $1.65 (-0.9%) to $190.56 on light volume Thus far, 191,817 shares of W.W. Grainger exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 666,500 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $186.59-$190.77 after having opened the day at $186.84 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $192.21.

W.W. Grainger, Inc. engages in the distribution of maintenance, repair, and operating supplies, as well as other related products and services for businesses and institutions primarily in the United States and Canada. W.W. Grainger has a market cap of $13.3 billion and is part of the wholesale industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.5, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 2.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 8 analysts that rate W.W. Grainger a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates W.W. Grainger 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, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations 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 W.W. Grainger Ratings Report now.

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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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