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

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 Consumer Goods sector higher today making it today's featured consumer goods winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.2%. By the end of trading, Altria Group rose $0.43 (1.2%) to $35.41 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 12,920,661 shares of Altria Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8,553,400 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $34.93-$35.42 after having opened the day at $35.01 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $34.98. Other companies within the Consumer Goods sector that increased today were: Domtar ( UFS), up 16.5%, Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide ( QTWW), up 13.8%, RG Barry Corporation ( DFZ), up 13.6% and Tianli Agritech ( OINK), up 11.3%.

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 tobacco industry. Shares are up 11.3% 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 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.

On the negative front, Coldwater Creek ( CWTR), down 29.9%, DS Healthcare Group ( DSKX), down 6.1%, SkyPeople Fruit Juice ( SPU), down 6.1% and Apple ( AAPL), down 5.4% , were all laggards within the consumer goods sector with Sealed Air Corporation ( SEE) 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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