Equities in the consumer goods sector have been thriving. The returns that some of the stocks in this space have churned out are all the more impressive in light of the relatively weak consumer confidence that has served as a backdrop. Here are four dynamic consumer goods stocks right now.

IN PICTURES: Learn To Invest In 10 Steps

Cash In-Fusion
The Cash for Clunkers program has propelled sales of domestic automobiles and Ford (NYSE:F) has been a big winner in the process. Having already emerged as best in breed among the Big Three, the company is continuing to gain market share and reverse its fortunes. One of the top selling models in the clunkers program has been the Ford Fusion which recently set a July record for the model with a 66% increase in vehicles sold compared to a year ago.
Shares of Ford have already risen 257% this year and have yet to show any signs of a let up. The company is now hoping that the Senate will add another $2 billion to the clunkers program to further stimulate sales. The company is also planning for the long-term as it now plans to expedite its product rollout by giving a makeover to between 70-90% of its vehicle lineups by volume by 2012.

The glass container manufacturer Owens-Illinois (NYSE:OI) recently topped analysts' earnings estimates with its Q2 results, despite acknowledging the negative impact the global recession is having on the company's business. Owens-Illinois has responded to this resistance with a successful $600 million bond offering and by temporarily adjusting production levels. The company has also been moving to reduce its fixed costs by shifting its operations from higher cost plants to more efficient facilities. OI is up 26.7% year-to-date.

Atop the Mountain
One consumer goods stock that has remained virtually unharmed throughout the recession is Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq:GMCR). The stock has gone pretty much straight up and has already climbed 162.4% this year. In the company's most recent quarter EPS grew by 125.0% on a 61.3% pop in net sales on a year-over-year basis.

The company's Keurig single-cup brewers continue to experience a torrid pace of growth. Q3 sales were up 187% versus the year-ago quarter. Two other plays in the coffee space that are also at or near 52-week highs like GMCR are Starbucks (Nasdaq:SBUX) and Caribou Coffee (Nasdaq:CBOU). McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) has also seen opportunity in the coffee arena and has been expanding its platform with its McCafe espresso-based coffee drinks. (To learn more about 52-week highs, read our Market Breadth Tutorial.)

The appliance manufacturer Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR) suffered double-digit EPS and revenue declines in Q2 compared to the company's year-ago quarter. Going forward, the picture is not as bad as previously expected. The firm upped the lower end of its full year guidance for 2009 as its cost-saving initiatives have begun to gain traction. Also, a government incentive plan has driven sales of appliances 28% higher in the company's Brazilian market. Shares of Whirlpool have risen 39.5% so far this year.

The Bottom Line
Consumer goods stocks have been lighting up across the board. These four names have been among the hottest names in the sector in recent weeks and have pushed investor expectations considerably higher. From here, it will be interesting to see whether these companies will continue to persevere in the face of adversity or if they will be dragged back down to earth.

Be sure to read our related article Using Consumer Spending As A Market Indicator to see how you can use what people buy and where they shop to garner valuable information about the economy.

Related Articles
  1. Fundamental Analysis

    Explaining the Central Limit Theorem

    Central limit theorem is a fundamental concept in probability theory.
  2. Investing

    Build a Retirement Portfolio for a Different World

    When it comes to retirement rules of thumb, the financial industry is experiencing new guidelines and the new rules for navigating retirement.
  3. Fundamental Analysis

    Examining Mexico's Trillion-Dollar GDP

    Examining the gross domestic product growth and composition of Mexico, the second largest economy in Latin America
  4. Investing News

    Canada in Recession

    On September 1, 2015, Statistics Canada reported that the economy has contracted by 0.5% in Q2 2015, after falling 0.8% in previous quarter.
  5. Fundamental Analysis

    What Causes Inflation in the United States

    Inflation is the main catalyst behind U.S monetary policy. But what causes this phenomenon of sustained rising prices? Read on to find out.
  6. Economics

    Is a Recession Coming?

    In the space of a week, the VIX Index, a measure of market volatility, spiked from 13, suggesting extreme complacency, to over 50, evidencing total panic.
  7. Stock Analysis

    Net Neutrality: Pros and Cons

    The fight over net neutrality has become an amazing spectacle. But at its core, it's yet another skirmish in cable television's war to remain relevant.
  8. Investing

    What’s Holding Back the U.S. Consumer

    Even as job growth has surged and gasoline prices have plunged, U.S. consumers are proving slow to respond and repair their overextended balance sheets.
  9. Fundamental Analysis

    Is India the Next Emerging Markets Superstar?

    With a shift towards manufacturing and services, India could be the next emerging market superstar. Here, we provide a detailed breakdown of its GDP.
  10. Personal Finance

    A Day in the Life of an Equity Research Analyst

    What does an equity research analyst do on an everyday basis?
RELATED TERMS
  1. Cost Accounting

    A type of accounting process that aims to capture a company's ...
  2. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s ...
  3. Supply

    A fundamental economic concept that describes the total amount ...
  4. Equity

    The value of an asset less the value of all liabilities on that ...
  5. Principal-Agent Problem

    The principal-agent problem develops when a principal creates ...
  6. Discount Bond

    A bond that is issued for less than its par (or face) value, ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the utility function and how is it calculated?

    In economics, utility function is an important concept that measures preferences over a set of goods and services. Utility ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How does additional paid in capital affect retained earnings?

    Both additional paid-in capital and retained earnings are entries under the shareholders' equity section of a company's balance ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What types of capital are not considered share capital?

    The money a business uses to fund operations or growth is called capital, and there are a number of capital sources available. ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!