Shares of cigarette manufacturer
Altria Group Inc
) hit a new 52-week high, closing at $37.06 on May 13, following
solid first-quarter 2013 results and the company's foray into the
E-cigarette category. Their previous 52-week high was $36.61,
reached on Apr 29.
Year-to-date, Altria's share prices have recorded a healthy
return of 13.5%. The company's long-term estimated EPS growth
rate is 7.9%. Average volume of shares traded over the last three
months came in at approximately 10,505K.
Solid First Quarter Performance
Positive pricing, higher earnings from Altria's equity
investment in SABMiller, cost saving initiatives, a lower share
count owing to share buyback program and lower interest expense
continued to be the strength of Altria.
Altria's first-quarter earnings were up 10.2% from the
prior-year quarter on the back of higher pricing and cost
reduction initiatives. Earnings also beat the Zacks Consensus
Estimate. Though revenues slipped from the prior-year quarter,
gross profits and operating income went up due to strict cost
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
introduction of an electronic cigarette in the second half of the
year is also encouraging.
The company declared a quarterly dividend of 44 cents per
share. The current annualized dividend rate is $1.76 per share.
As of May 13, 2013, Altria's annualized dividend yield was 4.8%.
Altria's Board also authorized a new $300 million share
repurchase program that the company expects to complete by the
end of 2013.
For 2013, Altria expects its adjusted earnings between $2.35
and $2.41 per share, representing a growth rate of 6% to 9% from
$2.21 per share in 2012.
Other Stocks to Consider
Altria holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks in the
consumer staples sector that are portraying a strong upward trend
in the bourses are
Flower Foods Inc
Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc.
) both of which carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and
Reynolds American Inc
) with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
FORTUNE BRD H&S (FBHS): Free Stock Analysis
FLOWERS FOODS (FLO): Free Stock Analysis
ALTRIA GROUP (MO): Free Stock Analysis Report
REYNOLDS AMER (RAI): Free Stock Analysis
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