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

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

Altria Group ( MO) pushed the Tobacco industry lower today making it today's featured Tobacco laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day down 1.4%. By the end of trading, Altria Group fell $0.36 (-1.1%) to $33.93 on average volume. Throughout the day, 7,777,937 shares of Altria Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9,026,000 shares. The stock ranged in price between $33.85-$34.30 after having opened the day at $34.28 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $34.29. Another company within the Tobacco industry that decreased today was Universal Corporation ( UVV), down 4.9%.

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 $69.3 billion and is part of the consumer goods sector. Shares are up 9.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. 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 growth in earnings per share, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and increase 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.

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).

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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