Altria post earnings of 57 cents a share for the fourth quarter, which missed the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of 58 cents a share by 1 cent. Net revenue for the cigarette producer fell 1.3% to $4.4 billion, just missing the analyst estimates of $4.47 billion.
The company's guidance for 2014 is in line with analyst expectations. The company expects to see earnings of between $2.52 and $2.59 a share for the year, which analysts expect earnings of $2.57 a share for the year.
Altria also announce that it repurchased about 6.8 million shares of common stock for about $252 million during the fourth quarter. The company has $457 million remaining in its $1 billion buyback program, which it expects to complete in the third quarter of 2014.
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TheStreet Ratings team rates ALTRIA GROUP INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate ALTRIA GROUP INC (MO) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- MO's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.6%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
- ALTRIA GROUP INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, ALTRIA GROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.06 versus $1.64 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.39 versus $2.06).
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Tobacco industry. The net income increased by 112.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $657.00 million to $1,396.00 million.
- 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. Compared to other companies in the Tobacco industry and the overall market, ALTRIA GROUP INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
- The gross profit margin for ALTRIA GROUP INC is rather high; currently it is at 60.25%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 29.32% is above that of the industry average.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: MO Ratings Report