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 was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Altria Group rose $0.40 (1.1%) to $37.30 on average volume. Throughout the day, 6,265,778 shares of Altria Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7,955,400 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $36.82-$37.33 after having opened the day at $36.84 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $36.90. Other companies within the Consumer Goods sector that increased today were: Helen of Troy ( HELE), up 9.3%, Amira Nature Foods ( ANFI), up 8.3%, Zuoan Fashion ( ZA), up 7.4% and Appliance Recycling Centers Of America ( ARCI), up 5.3%.

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 $74.0 billion and is part of the tobacco industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.4, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 3.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 7 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 revenue growth, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, impressive record of earnings per share growth 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, Nu Skin ( NUS), down 38.5%, Herbalife ( HLF), down 9.8%, Deckers Outdoor Corporation ( DECK), down 8.9% and Forward Industries ( FORD), down 4.9% , were all laggards within the consumer goods sector with Lululemon Athletica ( LULU) 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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