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Trade-Ideas: Altria Group (MO) Is Today's Unusual Social Activity Stock

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

Trade-Ideas LLC identified Altria Group (MO) as an unusual social activity candidate. In addition to specific proprietary factors, Trade-Ideas identified Altria Group as such a stock due to the following factors:

  • MO has 11x the normal benchmarked social activity for this time of the day compared to its average of 2.52 mentions/day.
  • MO has an average dollar-volume (as measured by average daily share volume multiplied by share price) of $273.5 million.

Identifying stocks with 'Unusual Social Activity' tends to be a valuable process for traders looking to capitalize on the 'talk of the town' stocks that are basking in far more attention from the StockTwits financial community than normal. Good press? Bad press? It ultimately doesn't matter if it's good or bad if you know how to trade around the sentiment. Certain hedge funds use such data for their proprietary algorithms and it is not uncommon to see shared social sentiment play itself out in a stock's price trend.

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More details on MO:

Altria Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States and internationally. The stock currently has a dividend yield of 5.2%. MO has a PE ratio of 16.2. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Altria Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Altria Group has been 8.7 million shares per day over the past 30 days. Altria Group has a market cap of $74.8 billion and is part of the consumer goods sector and tobacco industry. The stock has a beta of 0.42 and a short float of 0.8% with 2.34 days to cover. Shares are down 1.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

TheStreetRatings.com Analysis:

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Altria Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The gross profit margin for ALTRIA GROUP INC is rather high; currently it is at 55.79%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, MO's net profit margin of 11.08% significantly trails the industry average.
  • ALTRIA GROUP INC has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from 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 increased its bottom line by earning $2.26 versus $2.06 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.57 versus $2.26).
  • MO, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 3.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 1.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness 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.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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