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Altria (MO) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know

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Altria (MO - Free Report) closed at $55.73 in the latest trading session, marking a +1.64% move from the prior day. This change outpaced the S&P 500's 1.09% gain on the day. At the same time, the Dow added 1.13%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 1.51%.

Coming into today, shares of the owner of Philip Morris USA, the nation's largest cigarette maker had lost 13.88% in the past month. In that same time, the Consumer Staples sector gained 0.43%, while the S&P 500 gained 1.92%.

Wall Street will be looking for positivity from MO as it approaches its next earnings report date. This is expected to be February 7, 2019. On that day, MO is projected to report earnings of $0.95 per share, which would represent year-over-year growth of 4.4%. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenue is projecting net sales of $4.82 billion, up 22.59% from the year-ago period.

For the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates are projecting earnings of $3.99 per share and revenue of $19.65 billion, which would represent changes of +18.05% and +4.98%, respectively, from the prior year.

Investors should also note any recent changes to analyst estimates for MO. These revisions typically reflect the latest short-term business trends, which can change frequently. As a result, we can interpret positive estimate revisions as a good sign for the company's business outlook.

Based on our research, we believe these estimate revisions are directly related to near-team stock moves. We developed the Zacks Rank to capitalize on this phenomenon. Our system takes these estimate changes into account and delivers a clear, actionable rating model.

The Zacks Rank system ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell). It has a remarkable, outside-audited track record of success, with #1 stocks delivering an average annual return of +25% since 1988. Within the past 30 days, our consensus EPS projection has moved 0.11% lower. MO is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold).

Valuation is also important, so investors should note that MO has a Forward P/E ratio of 13.74 right now. For comparison, its industry has an average Forward P/E of 13.13, which means MO is trading at a premium to the group.

It is also worth noting that MO currently has a PEG ratio of 1.6. This metric is used similarly to the famous P/E ratio, but the PEG ratio also takes into account the stock's expected earnings growth rate. Tobacco stocks are, on average, holding a PEG ratio of 1.95 based on yesterday's closing prices.

The Tobacco industry is part of the Consumer Staples sector. This group has a Zacks Industry Rank of 170, putting it in the bottom 34% of all 250+ industries.

The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our individual industry groups by measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.

Be sure to follow all of these stock-moving metrics, and many more, on Zacks.com.




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