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

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 lower today making it today's featured Transportation laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.3%. By the end of trading, Southwest Airlines fell $0.27 (-1.3%) to $20.95 on average volume. Throughout the day, 9,475,763 shares of Southwest Airlines exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7,497,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $20.88-$21.26 after having opened the day at $20.97 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $21.22. Other companies within the Transportation industry that declined today were: Tsakos Energy Navigation ( TNP), down 9.1%, Genco Shipping & Trading ( GNK), down 5.8%, GasLog ( GLOG), down 4.7% and YRC Worldwide ( YRCW), down 4.5%.

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 $14.4 billion and is part of the services sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.4, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 12.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Southwest Airlines a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 2 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, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

On the positive front, Celadon Group ( CGI), up 8.3%, Baltic Trading ( BALT), up 7.2%, Safe Bulkers ( SB), up 4.3% and China Metro-Rural Holdings ( CNR), up 3.9% , were all gainers within the transportation industry with Alaska Air Group ( ALK) being today's featured transportation industry leader.

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).

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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