The stock was falling 6.40% to $51.20 a share in premarket trading.
Adjusted earnings were 90 cents a share, missing Wall Street estimates of 92 cents. Adjusted earnings a year earlier were 95 cents a share. Sales rose 6% from a year earlier to $4.39 billion but were below expectations of $4.59 billion.
"As expected, Altria's first quarter adjusted diluted EPS declined in the mid-single digit range as we incurred higher interest expense as a result of our recently issued debt, without the full benefit of savings from our cost reduction program, which began to ramp up at the end of the quarter," said Howard Willard, Altria's chairman and CEO.
The company reiterated it expects adjusted per-share earnings growth for 2019 of 4% to 7%.
Analysts at CFRA lowered their price target to $52 a share from $58, now representing about 1.5% upside. CFRA lowered its 2019 and 2020 EPS estimates to $4.15 from $4.20 and $4.35 from $4.45 respectively, "as volume declines for both smokeable (-14.1%) and smokeless products (-2.2%) were only partially offset by higher prices."
The stock has risen 10% so far this year.