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Philip Morris

(MO)

said its board approved a new three-year, $10 billion stock repurchase program that will take effect after the company completes the current buyback authorization in March.

The tobacco and food company expects to complete its current three-year, $8 billion share repurchase program, which began in November 1998, next month.

On Feb. 22, Philip Morris

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reaffirmed its previous 2001 projections, saying it expects earnings to increase 9% to 11%, but the company cautioned that the strong dollar represents "a continuing risk" to the forecast. The company's stock hit a 52-week high that day of $49 a share.

Shares of Phillip Morris, which is based in New York, fell 9 cents, or 0.2%, to $48.17 in recent

New York Stock Exchange

trading.

The company also said it will pay a regular quarterly dividend of 53 cents on April 10 to stockholders of record March 15.