Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM): Today's Featured Services Laggard

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

Whole Foods Market ( WFM) pushed the Services sector lower today making it today's featured Services laggard. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Whole Foods Market fell $1.32 (-1.3%) to $100.87 on average volume. Throughout the day, 2,573,434 shares of Whole Foods Market exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2,419,600 shares. The stock ranged in price between $100.53-$102.11 after having opened the day at $101.75 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $102.19. Other companies within the Services sector that declined today were: LivePerson ( LPSN), down 36.3%, Pizza Inn Holdings ( PZZI), down 32.9%, ChinaNet Online Holdings ( CNET), down 13.4% and Lentuo International ( LAS), down 11.1%.
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Whole Foods Market, Inc. owns and operates a chain of natural and organic foods supermarkets. The company offers produce, grocery, meat and poultry, seafood, bakery, prepared foods and catering, coffee and tea, nutritional supplements, and vitamins. Whole Foods Market has a market cap of $17.2 billion and is part of the retail industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 33.5, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 1.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Whole Foods Market a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Whole Foods Market 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value.

On the positive front, DS Torm ( TRMD), down 61.9%, Ctrip.com International ( CTRP), down 25.8%, Barnes & Noble ( BKS), down 24.4% and Sport Chalet ( SPCHA), down 24.1% , were all gainers within the services sector with Liberty Media Corporation ( LMCA) being today's featured services sector leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, 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).

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