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 0.2%. By the end of trading, Ecolab fell $1.53 (-1.4%) to $108.31 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 1,677,213 shares of Ecolab exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1,112,800 shares. The stock ranged in price between $108.17-$110.51 after having opened the day at $110.12 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $109.84. Other companies within the Consumer Goods sector that declined today were: American Apparel ( APP), down 22.1%, Crystal Rock Holdings ( CRVP), down 7.7%, STR Holdings ( STRI), down 7.2% and Tenneco ( TEN), down 6.4%.

Ecolab Inc. provides water, hygiene, and energy technologies and services for customers worldwide. The company operates in four segments: Global Industrial, Global Institutional, Global Energy, and Other. Ecolab has a market cap of $33.3 billion and is part of the consumer non-durables industry. Shares are up 5.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 9 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 revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

On the positive front, Fuwei Films (Holdings ( FFHL), up 33.0%, Forward Industries ( FORD), up 7.7%, Domtar ( UFS), up 6.4% and Tofutti Brands ( TOF), up 6.3% , were all gainers within the consumer goods sector with International Paper ( IP) 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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