Southwest Airlines Co (LUV): Today's Featured Services 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 Services sector lower today making it today's featured Services laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.5%. By the end of trading, Southwest Airlines fell $0.27 (-1.3%) to $21.03 on average volume. Throughout the day, 7,367,548 shares of Southwest Airlines exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7,448,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $20.97-$21.57 after having opened the day at $21.42 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $21.30. Other companies within the Services sector that declined today were: TOP Ships ( TOPS), down 15.6%, Newlead Holdings ( NEWL), down 11.1%, MGT Capital Investments ( MGT), down 9.8% and Genetic Technologies ( GENE), down 8.4%.

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 $15.0 billion and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are up 13.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. 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, ChinaNet Online Holdings ( CNET), up 25.0%, Chindex International ( CHDX), up 13.1%, Ctrip.com International ( CTRP), up 11.5% and Myriad Genetics ( MYGN), up 11.4% , were all gainers within the services sector with Directv ( DTV) 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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