Smithfield Foods Inc. (SFD): Today's Featured Food & Beverage Winner

Smithfield Foods ( SFD) pushed the Food & Beverage industry higher today making it today's featured food & beverage winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.4%. By the end of trading, Smithfield Foods rose 10 cents (0.5%) to $18.50 on light volume. Throughout the day, 1.9 million shares of Smithfield Foods exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.7 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $18.18-$18.60 after having opened the day at $18.28 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $18.40. Other companies within the Food & Beverage industry that increased today were: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters ( GMCR), up 26.5%, Smart Balance ( SMBL), up 12%, Coffee Holding Company ( JVA), up 8.6%, and Tianli Agritech ( OINK), up 5.1%.

Smithfield Foods, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the production and marketing of fresh meat and packaged meat products in the United States and internationally. Smithfield Foods has a market cap of $2.86 billion and is part of the consumer goods sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.4, equal to the average food & beverage industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 23.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are three analysts that rate Smithfield Foods a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Smithfield Foods as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

On the negative front, Central European Distribution ( CEDC), down 21.3%, Inventure Foods ( SNAK), down 15.4%, Le Gaga Holdings ( GAGA), down 6.4%, and Central Garden & Pet Company ( CENTA), down 5.4%, were all laggards within the food & beverage industry with PepsiCo ( PEP) being today's food & beverage industry laggard.

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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