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Consumer Stocks Mixed; Central Garden & Pets Rallies After Harbinger Group Lobbies for Strategic Review

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Consumer stocks were mixed Monday, with shares of consumer staples companies in the S&P 500 slipping about 0.2%. Shares of consumer discretionary firms in the S&P 500 were up about 0.3%.

In company news, Central Garden & Pet Company ( CENT ) rose to a new 52-week high after the Harbinger Group ( HRG ) released a letter to the retailer's board of directors urging they explore review strategic alternatives for the company, including a possible sale.

HRG owns nearly 450,000 CENT shares, equal to around 4.4% of the comany. According to its letter, HRG said it has tried on several occasions to begin discussions with CENT management with no response.

"We are confident that an independent and objective evaluation of our proposal will result in the board concluding that immediate action to engage in a dialogue with us," according to the HRG letter, which later said the conglomerate also plans to engage other shareholders in talks over its proposal.

CENT shares were up more than 10% this afternoon at $8.65 apiece, earlier climbing to its best share price since September 2012 at $8.75 a share. HRG shares also are higher, rising nearly 3% to $12.29 each.

In other sector news,

(+) FDO, (+14.0%) Carl Icahn discloses 9.4% active stake in new regulatory filing, with plans for management conversations. Company adopts shareholder rights program.

(-) PPC, (-6.2%) Tyson Foods ( TSN ) submits $7.7 bln winning bid for Hillshire Brands ( HSH ), topping the Pilgrim's Pride offer by around $1 bln. TSN offered $63 a share compared with PPC's $55 a share bid. TSN shares are down 4.7% while HSH is up 5%.

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

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