were moving slightly higher after the company reaffirmed its full-year 2004 earnings guidance.
The company expects to earn $4.57 to $4.67 a share in the year. The expected results include a 23 cents-a-share charge from the restructuring at
, which it spun off in an IPO. Kraft
said on Jan. 27 that it plans to cut jobs and close certain operations in the next three years.
Atria earned $4.62 a share in 2003. Analysts are calling for $4.86 a share in 2004.
The company, which operates the Philip Morris International and Philip Morris USA tobacco companies, expects to have organic volume growth of 3%, and and reported volume growth of 5% in 2004, including acquisitions.
On Jan. 28, the company reported an 18% increase in fourth-quarter profit and said it expected momentum to build in 2004.
As a result, Altria sees double-digit operating income growth for 2004, despite the dollar's sharp decline against European currencies.
"Our situation in Western Europe remains challenging, but we are addressing the key issues and expect increased stability through the course of the year," the company said in a statement.
The company added: "We continue to make a considerable investment to develop, commercialize, scientifically evaluate and launch products that potentially reduce adult smokers' exposure to harmful compounds in cigarette smoke. We hope to test a product that potentially reduces such exposure later this year."
Shares of Altria were lately up 3 cents, or 0.1%, at $55.15 on the
New York Stock Exchange