Altria Group Inc. Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (MO)

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Altria Group (NYSE: MO) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of B+ . The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance, compelling growth in net income and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • MO's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 185.71% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 28.92% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, MO should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength 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.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Tobacco industry. The net income increased by 175.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $444.00 million to $1,225.00 million.
  • ALTRIA GROUP INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to 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 reported lower earnings of $1.64 versus $1.87 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.21 versus $1.64).

Altria Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States and internationally. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.8, below the average tobacco industry P/E ratio of 16.7 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Altria Group has a market cap of $69.91 billion and is part of the consumer goods sector and tobacco industry. Shares are up 12.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

You can view the full Altria Group Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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