One vice stock to buy and another to hold as sin stocks stumble

It's not in to sin.

The so-called vice stocks were in a tailspin to start the week. Casino names such as Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands tumbled, digging deeper into the red in the past year, while tobacco stock Altria slumped on a downgrade from Morgan Stanley.

The technical setup for one of those names looks "constructive," says Piper Jaffray chief market technician Craig Johnson.

Wynn Resorts "is putting in a double bottom low, so from my perspective here at $111, this is a stock that should be bought. It's reversed the downtrend off the highs," Johnson said on CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Tuesday.

A double bottom is formed when a stock hits two equal lows made in quick succession. It is a typically bullish signal for a rebound.

"It looks like you get about 30 percent upside from here back to the 200-day moving average around $140 and change, so from my perspective I'd be a buyer of Wynn down at these levels," Johnson said.

Altria does not look as positive to Johnson, but he says the technical picture suggests a bottom could be forming.

"I see the next area of support coming in around $41, so you get a little less than 10 percent downside here in this stock and nice dividend support," said Johnson. "It's not something I'm going to step up here and buy, but I also don't see a lot of downside risk to the stock either at these levels."

Erin Gibbs, portfolio manager at S&P Global, said on "Trading Nation" she would steer clear of Altria, although she sees high growth in other less-established vice segments.

"We see this really as a change in investor preference of what is sin," Gibbs said. "When you really look down into the smaller caps — your cannabis companies, your smaller alcoholic beverages — that's where we're seeing the growth and some of these bigger companies, they still have some pretty big headwinds."

Large-cap sin stocks have had a mixed start to the year. While Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, and Philip Morris have rallied by at least 9 percent, Altria has crumbled 9 percent and British American Tobacco is just 2 percent higher.


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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