Altria Group Inc. (MO): Today's Featured Consumer Goods Winner

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

Altria Group ( MO) pushed the Consumer Goods sector higher today making it today's featured consumer goods winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.8%. By the end of trading, Altria Group rose $0.40 (1.1%) to $37.46 on light volume. Throughout the day, 6,576,481 shares of Altria Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 10,511,600 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $36.99-$37.61 after having opened the day at $37.00 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $37.06. Other companies within the Consumer Goods sector that increased today were: China Marine Food Group ( CMFO), up 31.6%, Ever-Glory International Group ( EVK), up 27.9%, Mannatech ( MTEX), up 16.8% and Overhill Farms ( OFI), up 13.8%.
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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 $74.2 billion and is part of the tobacco industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.1, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 17.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Altria Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 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 increase in stock price during the past year, impressive record of earnings per share growth, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and compelling growth 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 negative front, SORL Auto Parts ( SORL), down 5.2%, China Xiniya Fashion ( XNY), down 5.0%, Golden ( GLDC), down 4.8% and Orbital Corporation ( OBT), down 4.7% , were all laggards within the consumer goods sector with Deckers Outdoor Corporation ( DECK) 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).

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