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.

Two out of the three major indices traded up today One out of the three major indices traded up today The three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 5.88 points (0.0%) at 16,315 as of Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, 4:20 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,884 issues advancing vs. 1,209 declining with 128 unchanged.

The Materials & Construction industry as a whole closed the day up 0.7% versus the S&P 500, which was up 0.2%. Top gainers within the Materials & Construction industry included Comstock ( CHCI), up 4.6%, Ecology and Environment ( EEI), up 5.5%, Perma-Fix Environmental Services ( PESI), up 9.1%, United States Lime & Minerals ( USLM), up 3.0% and Sterling Construction ( STRL), up 2.2%.

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

Perma-Fix Environmental Services ( PESI) is one of the companies that pushed the Materials & Construction industry higher today. Perma-Fix Environmental Services was up $0.34 (9.1%) to $4.09 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 121,226 shares of Perma-Fix Environmental Services exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 14,500 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $3.75-$4.39 after having opened the day at $3.75 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $3.75.

Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as an environmental and technology know-how company in the United States. It operates through two segments, Treatment and Services. Perma-Fix Environmental Services has a market cap of $43.0 million and is part of the industrial goods sector. Shares are up 20.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Perma-Fix Environmental Services a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Perma-Fix Environmental Services as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on PESI 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 Commercial Services & Supplies industry and the overall market, PERMA-FIX ENVIRONMENTAL SVCS's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for PERMA-FIX ENVIRONMENTAL SVCS is rather low; currently it is at 19.90%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 0.08% significantly trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$4.38 million or 187.13% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • PERMA-FIX ENVIRONMENTAL SVCS has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, PERMA-FIX ENVIRONMENTAL SVCS reported poor results of -$3.03 versus -$0.30 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.46 versus -$3.03).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed compared to the Commercial Services & Supplies industry average, but is greater than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 101.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$0.88 million to $0.01 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Perma-Fix Environmental Services Ratings Report

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At the close, Ecology and Environment ( EEI) was up $0.52 (5.5%) to $9.95 on average volume. Throughout the day, 4,926 shares of Ecology and Environment exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5,400 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $9.52-$9.99 after having opened the day at $9.64 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $9.43.

Ecology and Environment, Inc., an environmental consulting firm, provides professional services to the government and private sectors worldwide. Ecology and Environment has a market cap of $25.5 million and is part of the industrial goods sector. Shares are down 14.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Ecology and Environment a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on EEI 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 Commercial Services & Supplies industry and the overall market, ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $1.30 million or 33.79% 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.
  • EEI has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 14.27% from its price level of one year ago. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed compared to the Commercial Services & Supplies industry average, but is greater than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 26.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$0.44 million to -$0.32 million.
  • EEI, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 4.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.2%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Ecology and Environment 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.

Comstock ( CHCI) was another company that pushed the Materials & Construction industry higher today. Comstock was up $0.04 (4.6%) to $0.90 on light volume. Throughout the day, 26,638 shares of Comstock exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 51,300 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $0.83-$0.91 after having opened the day at $0.91 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.86.

Comstock Holding Companies, Inc. operates as a real estate development and construction services company in the United States. The company operates through three segments: Homebuilding, Multi-family, and Real Estate Services. Comstock has a market cap of $17.7 million and is part of the industrial goods sector. Shares are down 53.0% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Comstock a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Comstock 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, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on CHCI 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 Household Durables industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 98.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$0.84 million to -$1.66 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 28.16 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company.
  • 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 Household Durables industry and the overall market, COMSTOCK HOLDING COS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for COMSTOCK HOLDING COS INC is rather low; currently it is at 19.12%. Regardless of CHCI's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, CHCI's net profit margin of -14.10% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 41.77%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 100.00% 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: Comstock 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.