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Altria (MO) Gains But Lags Market: What You Should Know

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In the latest trading session, Altria (MO - Free Report) closed at $49.07, marking a +0.59% move from the previous day. The stock lagged the S&P 500's daily gain of 0.97%. Meanwhile, the Dow gained 1.09%, and the Nasdaq, a tech-heavy index, added 1.08%.

Coming into today, shares of the owner of Philip Morris USA, the nation's largest cigarette maker had lost 8.58% in the past month. In that same time, the Consumer Staples sector lost 4.45%, while the S&P 500 lost 3.04%.

MO will be looking to display strength as it nears its next earnings release, which is expected to be February 7, 2019. In that report, analysts expect MO to post earnings of $0.94 per share. This would mark year-over-year growth of 3.3%. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenue is projecting net sales of $4.82 billion, up 22.59% from the year-ago period.

Investors might also notice recent changes to analyst estimates for MO. These recent revisions tend to reflect the evolving nature of short-term business trends. As such, positive estimate revisions reflect analyst optimism about the company's business and profitability.

Our research shows that these estimate changes are directly correlated with near-term stock prices. Investors can capitalize on this by using the Zacks Rank. This model considers these estimate changes and provides a simple, actionable rating system.

The Zacks Rank system, which ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), has an impressive outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks generating an average annual return of +25% since 1988. Over the past month, the Zacks Consensus EPS estimate has moved 0.8% lower. MO currently has a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold).

In terms of valuation, MO is currently trading at a Forward P/E ratio of 11.43. Its industry sports an average Forward P/E of 11.93, so we one might conclude that MO is trading at a discount comparatively.

Meanwhile, MO's PEG ratio is currently 1.33. The PEG ratio is similar to the widely-used P/E ratio, but this metric also takes the company's expected earnings growth rate into account. The Tobacco was holding an average PEG ratio of 1.46 at yesterday's closing price.

The Tobacco industry is part of the Consumer Staples sector. This group has a Zacks Industry Rank of 230, putting it in the bottom 10% of all 250+ industries.

The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our 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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