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3 Stocks Pushing The Consumer Goods Sector Lower

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.

The Consumer Goods sector as a whole closed the day up 0.1% versus the S&P 500, which was down 0.2%. Laggards within the Consumer Goods sector included Ocean Bio-Chem ( OBCI), down 4.5%, Koss ( KOSS), down 3.9%, Fuwei Films (Holdings ( FFHL), down 3.1%, Agria ( GRO), down 4.2% and Willamette Valley Vineyards ( WVVI), down 2.4%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks that pushed the sector lower today:

UniFirst ( UNF) is one of the companies that pushed the Consumer Goods sector lower today. UniFirst was down $1.56 (1.6%) to $98.43 on average volume. Throughout the day, 46,917 shares of UniFirst exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 59,000 shares. The stock ranged in price between $98.36-$99.89 after having opened the day at $99.75 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $99.99.

UniFirst Corporation provides workplace uniforms and protective work wear clothing primarily in the United States, Canada, and Europe. It operates through US Rental and Cleaning; Canadian Rental and Cleaning; Manufacturing; Specialty Garments Rental and Cleaning; and First Aid segments. UniFirst has a market cap of $1.5 billion and is part of the consumer non-durables industry. Shares are down 6.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are no analysts who rate UniFirst a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates UniFirst as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels, growth in earnings per share and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on UNF go as follows:

  • UNF's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 4.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.9%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • UNF's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.01 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, UNF has a quick ratio of 1.97, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • UNIFIRST CORP has improved earnings per share by 7.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, UNIFIRST CORP increased its bottom line by earning $5.82 versus $4.76 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.83 versus $5.82).
  • 38.61% is the gross profit margin for UNIFIRST CORP which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, UNF's net profit margin of 8.78% significantly trails the industry average.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: UniFirst 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.

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