Consumer Stocks Narrowly Mixed This Afternoon; Whole Foods Gives Back Small Gain That Followed BB&T Upgrade

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Consumer stocks were mixed this afternoon, with shares of consumer staples companies in the S&P 500 adding about 0.1%. Shares of consumer discretionary firms in the S&P 500 were down 0.2%.

In company news, Whole Foods Market Inc. ( WFM ) was down 1% in recent trading Monday, giving back a small rise earlier in the session that followed an upgrade of the upscale grocery chain by analysts at BB&T.

The research shop now rates WFM as a Buy, up from its previous call of Hold, citing the stock's current valuation as well as an expected rise in same-store sales starting in Q2. It also set a $64 a share price target.

Shares were ahead 0.9% in recent trade at $54.69 apiece, or about 6 cents off its intra-day high. The stock has a 52-week range of $40.70 to $65.59 a share.

In other sector news,

(+) HAS, (+5.8%) Raises quarterly dividend 8% over the previous quarter to 40.43 per share, payable May 15 to shareholders of record on May 1. Q4 EPS of $1.12, ex items, trails estimates by $0.10 per share. Revenue slips 0.1% to $1.28 bln, roughly in line with $1.3 bln consensus.

(-) BG, (-1.1%) Buys corn masa flour mill in Worthington, Ind., with an annual capacity of around 32,000 metric tons, from Corn Flour Producers LLC for an undisclosed amount.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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