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The Hershey Company (HSY): Today's Featured Food & Beverage Laggard

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

Hershey Company ( HSY) pushed the Food & Beverage industry lower today making it today's featured Food & Beverage laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.3%. By the end of trading, Hershey Company fell 84 cents (-1.1%) to $72.32 on average volume. Throughout the day, one million shares of Hershey Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of one million shares. The stock ranged in price between $71.97-$73.42 after having opened the day at $73.05 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $73.16. Other companies within the Food & Beverage industry that declined today were: Kraft Foods ( KFT), down 5.5%, Calavo Growers ( CVGW), down 4.3%, American Lorain ( ALN), down 3.9%, and Reeds ( REED), down 3%.

The Hershey Company, together with its subsidiaries, engages in manufacturing, marketing, selling, and distributing various chocolate and confectionery products, pantry items, and gum and mint refreshment products worldwide. Hershey Company has a market cap of $11.97 billion and is part of the consumer goods sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.6, equal to the average food & beverage industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 18.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are four analysts that rate Hershey Company a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hershey Company as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

On the positive front, Coffee Holding Company ( JVA), up 23.5%, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters ( GMCR), up 13.2%, Willamette Valley Vineyards ( WVVI), up 7.3%, and Annie's ( BNNY), up 6.8%, were all gainers within the food & beverage industry with Bunge ( BG) being today's featured food & beverage industry leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the food & beverage industry could consider PowerShares Dynamic Food & Beverage ( PBJ) while those bearish on the food & beverage industry could consider PowerShares DB Agriculture Sht ETN ( ADZ).

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