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

Altria Group ( MO) pushed the Consumer Goods sector lower today making it today's featured Consumer Goods laggard. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Altria Group fell $0.46 (-1.3%) to $34.99 on average volume. Throughout the day, 11,917,242 shares of Altria Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9,559,000 shares. The stock ranged in price between $34.96-$35.67 after having opened the day at $35.41 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $35.45. Other companies within the Consumer Goods sector that declined today were: Mondelez International ( MDLZ), down 32.9%, Global-Tech Advanced Innovations ( GAI), down 10.6%, CCA Industries ( CAW), down 10.1% and STR Holdings ( STRI), down 8.1%.

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 $70.8 billion and is part of the tobacco industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 12.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. 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 impressive record of earnings per share growth, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, increase in stock price during the past year 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 positive front, Pilgrims Pride ( PPC), up 10.8%, Tandy Brands Accessories ( TBAC), up 10.7%, Jakks Pacific ( JAKK), up 7.5% and MGP Ingredients ( MGPI), up 7.4% , were all gainers within the consumer goods sector with Under Armour ( UA) being today's featured consumer goods sector leader.

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).

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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