NEW YORK (
) -- Consumer stocks traded lower Tuesday, as the aftermath of the Japan earthquake rattled investors, but
(WHR - Get Report)
was closest to bucking the trend.
Mounting fears over Japan's escalating nuclear crisis sparked a global market selloff
. As most consumer goods stocks were in negative territory, appliance maker Whirlpool climbed steadily throughout the morning trading session.
John Canally, economist at LPL Financial, said that investors in the U.S. were using Japan as an excuse to book profits after the steep run up in stocks, helping to explain the wide scale market selloff. "At the end of this, no one is going to say this is what dipped the world back into a recession. No one expected much out of Japan before this," said Canally. "The problem is emerging markets. If this slows emerging market growth enough, that could be an issue."
Among stocks losing ground Tuesday,
, a London-based spirits, beer and wine distributor shed 3.6%.
Elsewhere in sin stocks, Sam Adams maker
(SAM - Get Report)
lost 2.9% and American depositary receipts of
British American Tobacco
fell 2.8%. Investors bid
(MO - Get Report)
shares 1.6% lower.
Consumer packaged goods maker
Procter & Gamble
(PG - Get Report)
saw its shares fall 1.5% amid investor uncertainty Tuesday. Processed food behemoth
Whirlpool shares had been in positive territory throughout the morning, but lost ground halfway through the session, hovering just below the unchanged mark, likely a result of profit-taking and investors' search for how to benefit from the Japan-induced selloff.
Zacks Investment Research noted Tuesday morning that Whirlpool shares were potentially undervalued in terms of their low price-to-earnings ratio, especially compared with its household appliances peers.
Zacks said Whirlpool had the lowest P/E, at 8.4 times, ahead of
Helen of Troy
, at 10.3 times, and
Deer Consumer Products
, at 12.1 times.
The Stanley Works
came next with a P/E of 19 times, followed by
at 34.2 times.
-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.
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