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

Ecolab ( ECL) pushed the Consumer Goods sector lower today making it today's featured Consumer Goods laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.6%. By the end of trading, Ecolab fell $1.64 (-1.6%) to $102.28 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 1,573,269 shares of Ecolab exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 936,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $101.22-$102.68 after having opened the day at $101.41 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $103.92. Other companies within the Consumer Goods sector that declined today were: Select Comfort Corporation ( SCSS), down 19.1%, Truett-Hurst Inc Class A ( THST), down 6.9%, Crumbs Bake Shop ( CRMB), down 6.5% and Shiloh Industries ( SHLO), down 6.2%.

Ecolab Inc. develops and markets programs, products, and services for hospitality, foodservice, healthcare, industrial, and energy markets worldwide. It operates through four segments: Global Industrial, Global Institutional, Global Energy, and Other. Ecolab has a market cap of $31.3 billion and is part of the consumer non-durables industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 34.6, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 0.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate Ecolab a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. 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, Verso Paper ( VRS), up 387.7%, Origin Agritech ( SEED), up 39.2%, Delta Apparel ( DLA), up 9.2% and Swisher Hygiene ( SWSH), up 8.2% , were all gainers within the consumer goods sector with Cooper Tire & Rubber Company ( CTB) 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).

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