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 are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 78.22 points (-0.4%) at 17,774 as of Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, 3:25 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,227 issues advancing vs. 1,763 declining with 144 unchanged.

The Food & Beverage industry as a whole closed the day down 0.1% versus the S&P 500, which was down 0.2%. Top gainers within the Food & Beverage industry included Crystal Rock Holdings ( CRVP), up 4.3%, Willamette Valley Vineyards ( WVVI), up 1.9%, Truett-Hurst ( THST), up 2.5%, Origin Agritech ( SEED), up 2.0% and Lifeway Foods ( LWAY), up 2.2%.

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

Lifeway Foods ( LWAY) is one of the companies that pushed the Food & Beverage industry higher today. Lifeway Foods was up $0.41 (2.2%) to $19.39 on light volume. Throughout the day, 6,166 shares of Lifeway Foods exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 16,800 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $18.64-$19.53 after having opened the day at $19.10 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $18.98.

Lifeway Foods, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells probiotic, cultured, and functional dairy and non-dairy health food products in the United States. Lifeway Foods has a market cap of $309.1 million and is part of the consumer goods sector. Shares are up 18.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates Lifeway Foods 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 Lifeway Foods as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on LWAY go as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 1.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 26.6%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • LWAY's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.20 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, LWAY has a quick ratio of 1.96, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 212.25% to $1.58 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, LIFEWAY FOODS INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 33.15%.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, LWAY's share price has jumped by 27.56%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.
  • LIFEWAY FOODS INC's earnings per share declined by 40.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. Earnings per share have declined over the last year. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, LIFEWAY FOODS INC reported lower earnings of $0.31 versus $0.35 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 22.6% in earnings ($0.24 versus $0.31).

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Lifeway Foods 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, Origin Agritech ( SEED) was up $0.03 (2.0%) to $1.34 on light volume. Throughout the day, 70,444 shares of Origin Agritech exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 112,500 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $1.32-$1.36 after having opened the day at $1.34 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $1.31.

Origin Agritech Limited, an agricultural biotechnology company, is engaged in crop seed breeding and genetic improvement activities in the People's Republic of China. Origin Agritech has a market cap of $29.3 million and is part of the consumer goods sector. Shares are up 3.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Origin Agritech 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 Origin Agritech as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating 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 SEED 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 Products industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 365.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $0.90 million to -$2.39 million.
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 2.00 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 0.10, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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 Food Products industry and the overall market, ORIGIN AGRITECH LTD's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for ORIGIN AGRITECH LTD is rather low; currently it is at 22.88%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -15.94% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • The share price of ORIGIN AGRITECH LTD has not done very well: it is down 19.50% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. 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.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Origin Agritech 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.

Truett-Hurst ( THST) was another company that pushed the Food & Beverage industry higher today. Truett-Hurst was up $0.10 (2.5%) to $4.05 on light volume. Throughout the day, 4,612 shares of Truett-Hurst exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 12,900 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $3.92-$4.15 after having opened the day at $3.92 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $3.95.

Truett-Hurst, Inc. produces, markets, and sells wines primarily in the United States. The company operates through Wholesale, Direct to Consumer, and Internet segments. Truett-Hurst has a market cap of $14.9 million and is part of the consumer goods sector. Shares are down 5.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Truett-Hurst a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Truett-Hurst as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on THST 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 Beverages industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 203.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$0.03 million to -$0.10 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.28 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.49, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • TRUETT-HURST INC 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 year. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, TRUETT-HURST INC swung to a loss, reporting -$0.16 versus $0.08 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.10 versus -$0.16).
  • Compared to where it was a year ago, the stock is now trading at a higher level, and has traded in line with the S&P 500. Regardless of the rise in share value over the previous year, we feel that the risks involved in investing in this stock do not compensate for any future upside potential.
  • Compared to other companies in the Beverages industry and the overall market, TRUETT-HURST INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Truett-Hurst 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.