Altria Group

(

MO

) pushed the Tobacco industry higher today making it today's featured tobacco winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.5%. By the end of trading, Altria Group rose 19 cents (0.6%) to $32.21 on average volume. Throughout the day, 12.8 million shares of Altria Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 10 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $32.01-$32.46 after having opened the day at $32.02 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $32.02.

Altria Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States and internationally. Altria Group has a market cap of $65.38 billion and is part of the

consumer goods

sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.1, equal to the average tobacco industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are seven analysts that rate Altria Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Altria Group as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, increase in net income, revenue growth, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally poor debt management on most measures that we evaluated.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the tobacco industry could consider

PowerShares Dynamic Food & Beverage

(

PBJ

) while those bearish on the tobacco industry could consider

PowerShares DB Agriculture Sht ETN

(

ADZ

).

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