Why Altria's Stock Decline May Present a Good Buying Opporunity

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Altria (MO) -- the maker of Marlboro cigarettes -- have fallen about 3.5% this week, which raises the question if the decline presents a good buying opportunity.

The stock's decline follows the company posting last week second-quarter adjusted earnings that were a penny short of analysts' estimates.

Of course, the entire market is down this week, and Altria's stock has outperformed the Standard & Poor's 500 Index so far this year. Shares of Altria are up 5.4%, compared with the S&P 500's 4.5% rise.

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Still, the recent decline in Altira's share price may present a good buying opportunity for two reasons: The company is still very profitable and it returns lots of cash to shareholders through dividends and stock buybacks.

In the second quarter, Altria's revenue fell 0.8% and its earnings fell 1.3%, but the company still posted a healthy profit margin of 31.5.%. Furthermore, it slightly narrowed its estimated range of earnings for the year, which makes the midpoint of the range a penny higher than before.

Altria pays an annual dividend of $1.92 per share, which comes to a yield of 4.7%, and the company plans to start another $1 billion stock buyback program after its current $1 billion program expires at the end of the third quarter. The new program will last through 2015.

Based on the new program, the company's buyback yield -- its shares repurchase program divided by its market capitalization -- comes to 1.2%. So the sum of Altria's dividend and buyback yields is close to 6%.

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