3 Services Stocks Nudging The Sector Higher

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.

All three major indices traded up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 101 points (0.6%) at 17,132 as of Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, 4:20 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,961 issues advancing vs. 1,099 declining with 138 unchanged.

The Services sector as a whole closed the day up 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which was up 0.7%. Top gainers within the Services sector included Bowl America ( BWL.A), up 4.7%, QKL Stores ( QKLS), up 2.5%, Point 360 ( PTSX), up 9.7%, RLJ Entertainment ( RLJE), up 4.0% and Spar Group ( SGRP), up 8.9%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

Spar Group ( SGRP) is one of the companies that pushed the Services sector higher today. Spar Group was up $0.14 (8.9%) to $1.65 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 400,805 shares of Spar Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 13,700 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $1.51-$1.98 after having opened the day at $1.51 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $1.52.

SPAR Group Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides merchandising and other marketing services worldwide. Spar Group has a market cap of $29.4 million and is part of the media industry. Shares are down 27.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Spar Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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

TheStreet Ratings rates Spar Group as a hold. 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 and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including weak operating cash flow, poor profit margins and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on SGRP go as follows:

  • SGRP's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 8.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.8%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.39, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. To add to this, SGRP has a quick ratio of 2.18, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • SPAR GROUP INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. During the past fiscal year, SPAR GROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.15 versus $0.13 in the prior year.
  • The gross profit margin for SPAR GROUP INC is rather low; currently it is at 24.90%. Regardless of SGRP's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, SGRP's net profit margin of 1.86% is significantly lower than the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$1.92 million or 197.21% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Spar Group Ratings Report

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

At the close, RLJ Entertainment ( RLJE) was up $0.09 (4.0%) to $2.37 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 80,529 shares of RLJ Entertainment exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $2.25-$2.40 after having opened the day at $2.30 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $2.28.

RLJ Entertainment, Inc., an entertainment company, acquires content rights in British episodic mystery and drama, urban programming, and full-length motion pictures. It operates through three segments: Intellectual Property Licensing, Wholesale, and Direct-to-Consumer. RLJ Entertainment has a market cap of $31.7 million and is part of the media industry. Shares are down 50.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are no analysts who rate RLJ Entertainment a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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

TheStreet Ratings rates RLJ Entertainment as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on RLJE go as follows:

  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Media industry and the overall market, RLJ ENTERTAINMENT INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $0.17 million or 97.99% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • The gross profit margin for RLJ ENTERTAINMENT INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 30.90%. Despite the low profit margin, it has increased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, RLJE's net profit margin of -7.10% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • RLJE's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 52.50%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • RLJ ENTERTAINMENT INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, RLJ ENTERTAINMENT INC reported poor results of -$2.30 versus -$0.49 in the prior year.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: RLJ Entertainment Ratings Report

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

QKL Stores ( QKLS) was another company that pushed the Services sector higher today. QKL Stores was up $0.08 (2.5%) to $3.16 on light volume. Throughout the day, 400 shares of QKL Stores exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4,500 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $3.16-$3.20 after having opened the day at $3.20 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $3.08.

QKL Stores Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates a supermarket chain in northeastern China and Inner Mongolia. QKL Stores has a market cap of $4.9 million and is part of the media industry. Shares are down 22.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are no analysts who rate QKL Stores a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates QKL Stores as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its unimpressive growth in net income, generally high debt management risk, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on QKLS go as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Food & Staples Retailing industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 158.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$1.45 million to -$3.76 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.30 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. To add to this, QKLS has a quick ratio of 0.56, this demonstrates the lack of ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • The gross profit margin for QKL STORES INC is rather low; currently it is at 16.82%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -7.28% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $2.17 million or 58.24% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 28.78%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 157.29% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: QKL Stores Ratings Report

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

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.

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