What You Need to Know Before Altria Earnings Tomorrow

Marlboro parent Altria is currently sporting a very attractive stock price

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Altria Group Inc. (NYSE:MO) is one of the world's largest producers and marketers of tobacco, cigarettes, and related products. They're the parent company of Philip Morris USA, and also have ownership in JUUL Labs, Helix Innovations, ABInBev, and Cronos Group (CRON), giving the company stakes in the tobacco, e-vapor, cannabis, and alcohol industries.

Although Altria remains at a massive market cap of $78 billion, MO is down 16% in the last 12 months. While it may seem like the shares are knocking on the door of their Jan. 29 annual high of $50.77, their current perch of $42.23 pales in comparison to its June 2017 peaks near $78. 

MO will step into the earnings confessional tomorrow before the market opens, on Jan. 28. In recent history, Altria beat expectations on three of its previous four earnings reports.

For the fourth quarter of 2019, MO met analysts' expectations with an earnings per share (EPS) of $1.02. For the first quarter of 2020, Altria beat Wall Street's earnings expectations by a margin of $0.11. The company matched its previous quarter’s earnings at $1.09 for the second quarter of 2020 and beat analyst expectations by a margin of $0.03. Most recently, for the third quarter of 2020, MO reported an increased EPS once again. Altria boosted its earning to $1.19, beating earnings expectations by $0.03 per share. 

However, all of those reports have resulted in minor post-earnings moves. In the last eight quarters, MO has averaged a post-earnings move of only 3.2%, regardless of direction.

From a fundamental point of view, Altria remains an attractive value play for potential investors. MO has an incredibly attractive forward price-earnings ratio of 9.09. In addition, the company has maintained steady top-line growth in recent years. This past year, Altria increased it revenue by almost $800 million. A notable issue with MO lies in its net income. Over the last three years Altria has gone from producing over $10 billion in annual net profits to just $734 million in the past 12 months. Nonetheless, MO has shown signs of recovery after it bounced back from its 2019 net losses and increased its net income by $2 billion in 2020.

It's important to note that MO is one of the best paying dividend stocks in the market. The company has a forward dividend of $3.44 and, most importantly, a dividend yield of 8.20%. Altria’s dividend history dates to 1989, making it one of the most secure high-yielding dividends. However, the $29.26 billion in debt the company has on its balance sheet takes away some from that insurance. Overall, Altria's renewed bottom-line growth makes Altria an exciting candidate for big returns from stock appreciation and dividends.


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