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"We recommend the purchase of Altria for investors as we believe Q1 results will demonstrate the strength of the Marlboro franchise, the focus on the architecture of the brand and improving margins," Davenport analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "One of the primary goals of MO's tobacco operating companies is to grow their share of the revenue and profit pools generated from adult tobacco consumers."
Shares of Altria hit a 52-week high Friday of $31.71. The stock's 52-week low of $23.20 was set on Aug. 9.
Altria has an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 13.41 times; the average for tobacco companies is 12.27. For comparison,
Philip Morris International(PM) has a higher forward P/E of 15.03.
Ten of the 18 analysts who cover Altria rated it hold; eight analysts gave the stock a buy rating.
TheStreet Ratings gives Altria a B+ grade with a buy rating and
$38.56 price target. The stock has risen 7.02% year to date.