3 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 down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 53 points (-0.4%) at 13,873 as of Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, 11:50 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 851 issues advancing vs. 2,047 declining with 117 unchanged.

The Services sector currently sits down 0.6% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.6%. Top gainers within the sector include J.C. Penney ( JCP), up 8.1%, Dollar General Corporation ( DG), up 4.2%, Dollar Tree Stores ( DLTR), up 3.5%, Wal-Mart Stores ( WMT), up 3.0% and Target ( TGT), up 1.3%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Michael Kors Holdings ( KORS), down 2.4%, Luxottica Group ( LUX), down 2.4%, Las Vegas Sands ( LVS), down 2.0%, eBay ( EBAY), down 1.6% and McKesson ( MCK), down 1.2%.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

3. Safeway ( SWY) is one of the companies pushing the Services sector higher today. As of noon trading, Safeway is up $2.87 (14.3%) to $23.00 on heavy volume Thus far, 9.7 million shares of Safeway exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $20.83-$23.16 after having opened the day at $20.96 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $20.13.

Safeway Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a food and drug retailer in North America. Safeway has a market cap of $4.9 billion and is part of the retail industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.9, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 13.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 4 analysts that rate Safeway a buy, 4 analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Safeway as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels and impressive record of earnings per share growth. 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 Safeway Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Family Dollar Stores ( FDO) is up $2.33 (4.2%) to $57.20 on average volume Thus far, 1.3 million shares of Family Dollar Stores exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $54.65-$57.24 after having opened the day at $54.68 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $54.87.

Family Dollar Stores, Inc. operates a chain of self-service retail discount stores primarily for low- and middle-income consumers in the United States. Family Dollar Stores has a market cap of $6.4 billion and is part of the retail industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.5, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 13.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Family Dollar Stores a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 12 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Family Dollar Stores as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and reasonable valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full Family Dollar Stores Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Kroger ( KR) is up $1.03 (3.7%) to $28.70 on average volume Thus far, 2.8 million shares of Kroger exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $27.80-$28.75 after having opened the day at $27.80 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $27.67.

The Kroger Co., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a retailer in the United States. The company also manufactures and processes food for sale in its supermarkets. Kroger has a market cap of $14.6 billion and is part of the retail industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.2, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Kroger a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Kroger as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, revenue growth, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and good cash flow from operations. 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 Kroger Ratings Report now.

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If you are interested in one of these 3 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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