Technology

Altria (MO) Gains But Lags Market: What You Should Know

In the latest trading session, Altria (MO) closed at $57.74, marking a +0.54% move from the previous day. This move lagged the S&P 500's daily gain of 1.16%. Meanwhile, the Dow gained 1.27%, and the Nasdaq, a tech-heavy index, added 1.29%.

Prior to today's trading, shares of the owner of Philip Morris USA, the nation's largest cigarette maker had gained 9.58% over the past month. This has outpaced the Consumer Staples sector's gain of 3.99% and the S&P 500's gain of 1.92% in that time.

Investors will be hoping for strength from MO as it approaches its next earnings release, which is expected to be April 25, 2019. In that report, analysts expect MO to post earnings of $0.92 per share. This would mark a year-over-year decline of 3.16%. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenue is projecting net sales of $4.57 billion, down 2.18% from the year-ago period.

For the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates are projecting earnings of $4.21 per share and revenue of $19.75 billion, which would represent changes of +5.51% and +0.65%, respectively, from the prior year.

Investors should also note any recent changes to analyst estimates for MO. These revisions typically reflect the latest short-term business trends, which can change frequently. With this in mind, we can consider positive estimate revisions a sign of optimism about the company's business outlook.

Research indicates that these estimate revisions are directly correlated with near-term share price momentum. Investors can capitalize on this by using the Zacks Rank. This model considers these estimate changes and provides a simple, actionable rating system.

The Zacks Rank system, which ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), has an impressive outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks generating an average annual return of +25% since 1988. Within the past 30 days, our consensus EPS projection has moved 0.03% lower. MO currently has a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold).

Valuation is also important, so investors should note that MO has a Forward P/E ratio of 13.64 right now. This valuation marks a premium compared to its industry's average Forward P/E of 13.4.

Also, we should mention that MO has a PEG ratio of 1.71. This popular metric is similar to the widely-known P/E ratio, with the difference being that the PEG ratio also takes into account the company's expected earnings growth rate. MO's industry had an average PEG ratio of 1.83 as of yesterday's close.

The Tobacco industry is part of the Consumer Staples sector. This industry currently has a Zacks Industry Rank of 99, which puts it in the top 39% of all 250+ industries.

The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our industry groups by measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.

Be sure to follow all of these stock-moving metrics, and many more, on Zacks.com.


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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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