Ecolab Inc. (ECL): Today's Featured Consumer Goods Winner

Ecolab ( ECL) pushed the Consumer Goods sector higher today making it today's featured consumer goods winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.1%. By the end of trading, Ecolab rose 81 cents (1.3%) to $65.34 on light volume. Throughout the day, 1.1 million shares of Ecolab exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.6 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $64.45-$65.42 after having opened the day at $64.47 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $64.53. Other companies within the Consumer Goods sector that increased today were: Enova Systems ( ENA), up 13.6%, Jones Soda Company ( JSDA), up 8.2%, Harman International Industries ( HAR), up 7.5%, and United-Guardian ( UG), up 7.2%.

Ecolab Inc. develops and markets programs, products, and services for the hospitality, foodservice, healthcare, industrial, and energy markets. Ecolab has a market cap of $18.77 billion and is part of the consumer non-durables industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 36.3, equal to the average consumer non-durables industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 11% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Ecolab a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and four rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ecolab as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, increase in net income, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally poor debt management on most measures that we evaluated.

On the negative front, Monster Beverage ( MNST), down 11.3%, Frederick's of Hollywood Group ( FOH), down 11.2%, Star Scientific ( STSI), down 8.5%, and Star Scientific ( CIGX), down 8.5%, were all laggards within the consumer goods sector with Select Comfort Corporation ( SCSS) being today's consumer goods sector laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the consumer goods sector could consider iShares Dow Jones US Cons Goods ( IYK) while those bearish on the consumer goods sector could consider ProShares Ultra Sht Consumer Goods ( SZK).