Altria Group Inc. (MO): 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.

Altria Group ( MO) pushed the Consumer Goods sector lower today making it today's featured Consumer Goods laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.5%. By the end of trading, Altria Group fell $0.57 (-1.6%) to $36.02 on average volume. Throughout the day, 7,253,343 shares of Altria Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9,054,400 shares. The stock ranged in price between $35.86-$36.71 after having opened the day at $36.59 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $36.59. Other companies within the Consumer Goods sector that declined today were: Swisher Hygiene ( SWSH), down 6.2%, Standard Register Company ( SR), down 6.0%, Nu Skin ( NUS), down 5.8% and Vector Group ( VGR), down 4.7%.

Altria Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States and internationally. Altria Group has a market cap of $72.5 billion and is part of the tobacco industry. Shares are down 4.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Altria Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 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 expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front, Ocean Bio-Chem ( OBCI), up 17.2%, Vera Bradley ( VRA), up 7.4%, EveryWare Global ( EVRY), up 5.2% and Primo Water ( PRMW), up 4.8%.

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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