Alaska Air Group Inc. (ALK): Today's Featured Transportation Winner

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.

Alaska Air Group ( ALK) pushed the Transportation industry higher today making it today's featured transportation winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.5%. By the end of trading, Alaska Air Group rose $1.34 (2.3%) to $60.58 on average volume. Throughout the day, 582,807 shares of Alaska Air Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 714,100 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $58.12-$60.79 after having opened the day at $58.80 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $59.24. Other companies within the Transportation industry that increased today were: Ultrapetrol Bahamas ( ULTR), up 20.3%, YRC Worldwide ( YRCW), up 15.7%, Rand Logistics ( RLOG), up 7.4%, and Sino-Global Shipping America ( SINO), up 5.4%.
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Alaska Air Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides scheduled air transportation for passengers and cargo. Alaska Air Group has a market cap of $4.19 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 37.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are seven analysts that rate Alaska Air Group a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and three rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Alaska Air Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, revenue growth, 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 shows low profit margins.

On the negative front, Covenant Transportation Group ( CVTI), down 5.2%, Paragon Shipping ( PRGN), down 3.8%, Seanergy Maritime Holdings ( SHIP), down 3.2%, and Knightsbridge Tankers ( VLCCF), down 2.8%, were all laggards within the transportation industry with Union Pacific ( UNP) 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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