Southwest Airlines Co (LUV): Today's Featured Transportation Winner

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

Southwest Airlines ( LUV) pushed the Transportation industry higher today making it today's featured transportation winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.2%. By the end of trading, Southwest Airlines rose $0.82 (4.6%) to $18.79 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 11,431,407 shares of Southwest Airlines exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6,910,400 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $18.21-$18.84 after having opened the day at $18.31 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $17.97. Other companies within the Transportation industry that increased today were: Tsakos Energy Navigation ( TNP), up 6.9%, Frontline ( FRO), up 5.0%, JetBlue Airways Corporation ( JBLU), up 4.9% and Republic Airways Holdings ( RJET), up 3.9%.

Southwest Airlines Co. operates passenger airlines that provide scheduled air transportation services in the United States. As of December 31, 2012, the company operated 694 aircraft, including 606 Boeing 737 aircraft and 88 Boeing 717 aircraft. Southwest Airlines has a market cap of $12.9 billion and is part of the services sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.6, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 81.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Southwest Airlines a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Southwest Airlines as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Taminco ( TAM), down 7.4%, Newlead Holdings ( NEWL), down 6.8%, StealthGas ( GASS), down 5.6% and DHT Holdings ( DHT), down 4.9%.

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).

3x UPSIDE POTENTIAL: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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