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Goldman Sachs pegs Hanesbrands as a top pick

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Goldman Sachs analyst on Friday pegged Hanesbrands Inc. as one of his top picks in the sector, pointing to the underwear maker's strong finances and well-known brands.

THE OPINION: Taposh Bari initiated coverage of Hanesbrands with a "Buy" rating and $50 price target.

"We appreciate Hanesbrands for what it is — a mature portfolio of national brands with low fashion risk and staple-like qualities," Bari wrote in a note to investors.

Bari said Hanesbrands offers a balanced focus on branding, product innovation and supply chain investments. He said that the company's brands are poised to at least retain their top market share spot and continue to generate strong cash flow.

The analyst added that in the years since its 2006 spinoff from Sara Lee, Hanesbrands has managed to improve its finances and ride out both the Great Recession and 2010's cotton inflation. With those challenges behind it, the company is now poised to reduce debt and start putting cash toward dividends, stock buybacks and acquisitions, he said.

THE SHARES: Up 61 cents to $42.64 in afternoon trading, after hitting an all-time high of $44.53 earlier in the session. Over the past year Hanesbrands shares have risen 44 percent.