Altria Group Stock Rating Reaffirmed by Zacks (MO)
Altria Group (NYSE: MO)‘s stock had its “neutral” rating reiterated by Zacks in a note issued to investors on Friday. They currently have a $35.00 target price on the stock.
Zacks‘ analyst wrote, “Altria’s fourth-quarter 2012 earnings of $0.55 per share were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Earnings grew 3.6% year over year driven by higher sales of its major brands and positive pricing. Revenues increased 2.2% on the back of strong sales in all the segments. Overall, we are encouraged by the company’s efforts to adapt to the evolving needs of consumers and develop less harmful non-combustible-nicotine-containing tobacco products. The growing retail share of most of its brands in the market, are also quite satisfying. Moreover, the company is well on track to achieve its cost reduction targets. However, unfavorable excise tax environment leading to inflated prices of Altria’s premium brands create margin pressure for the company. Higher fees associated with litigations, and FDA’s anti-smoking campaigns pose significant overhangs. Thus, we prefer to remain on the sidelines with a Neutral recommendation.”
Shares of Altria Group (NYSE: MO) traded down 0.53% during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $33.62. Altria Group has a one year low of $29.89 and a one year high of $36.29. The stock’s 50-day moving average is currently $34.19. The company has a market cap of $67.346 billion and a P/E ratio of 16.42.
Altria Group (NYSE: MO) last released its earnings data on Thursday, January 31st. The company reported $0.55 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the analysts’ consensus estimate of $0.55. The company had revenue of $4.46 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.33 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.50 earnings per share. Altria Group’s revenue was up 2.6% compared to the same quarter last year. Altria Group has set its FY13 guidance at $2.35-2.41 EPS. Analysts expect that Altria Group will post $2.39 EPS for the current fiscal year.
A number of other firms have also recently commented on MO. Analysts at TheStreet reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Altria Group in a research note to investors on Tuesday.
Seven equities research analysts have rated the stock with a buy rating, two have issued an overweight rating, and six have assigned a hold rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “overweight” and an average target price of $36.82.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Wednesday, April 10th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.44 per share. This represents a $1.76 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 5.21%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 13th.
Altria Group, Inc. is a holding company. As of December 31, 2009, Altria Group, Inc.’s wholly owned subsidiaries included Philip Morris USA Inc.
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