3 Stocks Pushing The Specialty Retail Industry 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 154 points (0.9%) at 17,210 as of Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, 4:20 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,794 issues advancing vs. 1,244 declining with 169 unchanged.

The Specialty Retail industry as a whole closed the day up 1.1% versus the S&P 500, which was up 0.8%. Top gainers within the Specialty Retail industry included Birks Group ( BGI), up 3.0%, Books-A-Million ( BAMM), up 5.2%, DGSE Companies ( DGSE), up 2.9%, Mecox Lane ( MCOX), up 10.3% and Rush ( RUSHB), up 1.7%.

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

Rush ( RUSHB) is one of the companies that pushed the Specialty Retail industry higher today. Rush was up $0.51 (1.7%) to $30.26 on light volume. Throughout the day, 2,616 shares of Rush exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5,300 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $29.00-$30.26 after having opened the day at $29.30 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $29.75.

Rush Enterprises, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as an integrated retailer of commercial vehicles and related services in the United States. The company owns and operates a network of commercial vehicle dealerships under the Rush Truck Centers name. Rush has a market cap of $306.4 million and is part of the consumer goods sector. Shares are up 16.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Rush 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 Rush as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance and reasonable valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk and poor profit margins.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on RUSHB go as follows:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 0.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 49.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 250.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 36.72% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, our hold rating indicates that we do not recommend additional investment in this stock despite its gains in the past year.
  • RUSH ENTERPRISES INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, RUSH ENTERPRISES INC reported lower earnings of $1.22 versus $1.58 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.82 versus $1.22).
  • The gross profit margin for RUSH ENTERPRISES INC is rather low; currently it is at 16.35%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 1.67% trails that of the industry average.
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.79 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.28, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Rush 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, Mecox Lane ( MCOX) was up $0.40 (10.3%) to $4.24 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 37,101 shares of Mecox Lane exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 15,800 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $3.75-$4.31 after having opened the day at $3.75 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $3.84.

Mecox Lane Limited designs and sells apparel, accessories, and home and healthcare products through its online platform and stores in the People's Republic of China. Mecox Lane has a market cap of $48.0 million and is part of the consumer goods sector. Shares are up 5.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Mecox Lane 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 Mecox Lane as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on MCOX go as follows:

  • MECOX LANE LTD's earnings per share declined by 25.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, MECOX LANE LTD reported poor results of -$2.20 versus -$1.95 in the prior year.
  • 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 Internet & Catalog Retail industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 37.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$4.23 million to -$5.80 million.
  • 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 Internet & Catalog Retail industry and the overall market, MECOX LANE LTD's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • In its most recent trading session, MCOX has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • MCOX, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 7.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 8.5%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Mecox Lane 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.

Books-A-Million ( BAMM) was another company that pushed the Specialty Retail industry higher today. Books-A-Million was up $0.09 (5.2%) to $1.83 on light volume. Throughout the day, 8,467 shares of Books-A-Million exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 19,100 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $1.74-$1.96 after having opened the day at $1.74 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $1.74.

Books-A-Million, Inc. operates as a book retailer primarily in the eastern United States. It operates in three segments: Retail Trade, Electronic Commerce Trade, and Real Estate Development and Management. Books-A-Million has a market cap of $27.0 million and is part of the consumer goods sector. Shares are down 20.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Books-A-Million a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Books-A-Million as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its poor profit margins, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and generally high debt management risk.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on BAMM go as follows:

  • The gross profit margin for BOOKS-A-MILLION INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 28.63%. Regardless of BAMM's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, BAMM's net profit margin of -2.78% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • BAMM has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 20.71% from its price level of one year ago. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • BAMM's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.06 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Specialty Retail industry and the overall market, BOOKS-A-MILLION INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • BOOKS-A-MILLION 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, BOOKS-A-MILLION INC swung to a loss, reporting -$0.52 versus $0.15 in the prior year.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Books-A-Million 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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