Altria Boosts Forecast

Third-quarter earnings are stronger than expected.
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Altria

(MO) - Get Report

easily exceeded analysts' third-quarter earnings estimates and raised its profit forecast for the full year.

Shares of Altria rose 0.7% to $71.20 in premarket trading Wednesday.

Net earnings fell to $2.63 billion, or $1.24 a share, from $2.88 billion and $1.36 a share in the year-ago period. However, excluding items, Altria earned $1.21 in the latest quarter, 7 cents better than expected.

Revenue climbed nearly 9% year over year to $19.21 billion.

For all of 2007, Altria boosted its outlook for earnings from continuing operations to a range of $4.20 to $4.25, up from its prior projection of $4.05 to $4.10.

Analysts are even more optimistic and are calling for $4.29.