Altria Group Inc. (MO): Today's Featured Tobacco Winner

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

Altria Group ( MO) pushed the Tobacco industry higher today making it today's featured tobacco winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 2.1%. By the end of trading, Altria Group rose $0.36 (1.0%) to $36.46 on average volume. Throughout the day, 9,323,631 shares of Altria Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9,788,600 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $35.62-$36.50 after having opened the day at $36.05 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $36.10. Other companies within the Tobacco industry that increased today were: Alliance One International ( AOI), up 8.0% and Lorillard ( LO), up 1.8%.
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Altria Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States and internationally. Altria Group has a market cap of $73.2 billion and is part of the consumer goods sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.9, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 14.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Altria Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Altria Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, increase in stock price during the past year and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the tobacco industry could consider PowerShares Dynamic Food & Beverage ( PBJ) while those bearish on the tobacco industry could consider PowerShares DB Agriculture Sht ETN ( ADZ).

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