NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Altria Group (NYSE:MO) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of B. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, revenue growth, expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally poor debt management on most measures that we evaluated.
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- Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 30.55% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, MO should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
- Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 1.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.3%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
- The gross profit margin for ALTRIA GROUP INC is rather high; currently it is at 56.60%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 24.40% is above that of the industry average.
- The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. In comparison to other companies in the Tobacco industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, ALTRIA GROUP INC has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500.
- ALTRIA GROUP INC has improved earnings per share by 6.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ALTRIA GROUP INC reported lower earnings of $1.64 versus $1.87 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.21 versus $1.64).
--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff. TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.
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