3 Stocks Pushing The Food & Beverage Industry Lower

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.

The Food & Beverage industry as a whole was unchanged today versus the S&P 500, which was unchanged. Laggards within the Food & Beverage industry included Leading Brands ( LBIX), down 4.0%, American Lorain ( ALN), down 2.8%, Key Technology ( KTEC), down 3.1%, Golden ( GLDC), down 5.2% and Agria ( GRO), down 3.9%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks that pushed the industry lower today:

Key Technology ( KTEC) is one of the companies that pushed the Food & Beverage industry lower today. Key Technology was down $0.40 (3.1%) to $12.60 on light volume. Throughout the day, 201 shares of Key Technology exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4,200 shares. The stock ranged in price between $12.60-$12.60 after having opened the day at $12.60 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $13.00.

Key Technology, Inc. designs, manufactures, sells, and services process automation systems integrating electro-optical inspection, sorting, and process systems in the United States and internationally. Key Technology has a market cap of $83.8 million and is part of the consumer goods sector. Shares are down 7.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Key Technology as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have evaluated. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on KTEC go as follows:

  • KTEC's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.08 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.89 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • KEY TECHNOLOGY INC has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, KEY TECHNOLOGY INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.66 versus $0.09 in the prior year.
  • The gross profit margin for KEY TECHNOLOGY INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 31.25%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -6.46% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $0.38 million or 71.49% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Key Technology Ratings Report

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At the close, American Lorain ( ALN) was down $0.03 (2.8%) to $0.98 on light volume. Throughout the day, 27,708 shares of American Lorain exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 38,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $0.90-$1.01 after having opened the day at $1.00 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $1.01.

American Lorain Corporation, through its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures, and sells various food products in the People's Republic of China. It provides chestnut products, including aerated open-bottom chestnuts, sweetheart chestnuts, chestnuts in syrup, and golden chestnut kernels. American Lorain has a market cap of $36.0 million and is part of the consumer goods sector. Shares are up 31.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates American Lorain as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on ALN go as follows:

  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.52, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.42, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite the company's weak earnings results. Despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and greatly underperformed compared to the Food Products industry average. The net income has decreased by 14.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $2.50 million to $2.14 million.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. In comparison to the other companies in the Food Products industry and the overall market, AMERICAN LORAIN CORP's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: American Lorain Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Leading Brands ( LBIX) was another company that pushed the Food & Beverage industry lower today. Leading Brands was down $0.16 (4.0%) to $3.88 on light volume. Throughout the day, 3,700 shares of Leading Brands exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9,600 shares. The stock ranged in price between $3.87-$4.10 after having opened the day at $4.09 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $4.04.

Leading Brands, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, is engaged in the development, production, marketing, and distribution of beverages in Canada, the western United States, and Asia. Leading Brands has a market cap of $11.7 million and is part of the consumer goods sector. Shares are up 3.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Leading Brands as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

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Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on LBIX go as follows:

  • LBIX has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. To add to this, LBIX has a quick ratio of 1.60, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • 45.23% is the gross profit margin for LEADING BRANDS INC which we consider to be strong. Regardless of LBIX's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 10.21% trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $0.25 million or 63.11% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. In comparison to the other companies in the Beverages industry and the overall market, LEADING BRANDS INC's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Leading Brands Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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