Altria Group Inc. Third Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE:MO) will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, October 27, 2011. Altria Group manufactures and sells cigarettes and tobacco products as well as maintaining a portfolio of leveraged and direct finance leases.

Altria Group, Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for net income of 56 cents per share, a rise of 3.7% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved down from 57 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate was unchanged. It has since dropped over the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 7.4% versus last year to $2.04.

Past Earnings Performance: Last quarter, the company reported profit of 53 cents per share, in line with the mean estimate. It was the third straight quarter of meeting expectations.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: On average, analysts predict $4.44 billion in revenue this quarter, a decline of 0.4% from the year ago quarter. Analysts are forecasting total revenue of $17.06 billion for the year, a rise of 1% from last year’s revenue of $16.89 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts are bullish on Altria Group as five analysts rate it as a buy, none rate it as a sell and five rate it as a hold.

A Look Back: In the second quarter, profit fell 57.4% to $444 million (21 cents a share) from $1.04 billion (50 cents a share) the year earlier, meeting analyst expectations. Revenue fell 7.8% to $4 billion from $4.34 billion.

Key Stats:

The decrease in profit in the second quarter broke a streak of three consecutive quarters of year-over-year profit increases. Net income rose 15.3% in the first quarter, 26.8% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year and 28.2% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year.

Revenue has fallen in the past two quarters. In the first quarter, the figure fell 0.2%.

Competitors to Watch: Reynolds American, Inc. (NYSE:RAI), Lorillard Inc. (NYSE:LO), Philip Morris Intl. Inc. (NYSE:PM), Vector Group Ltd. (NYSE:VGR), Star Scientific, Inc. (NASDAQ:CIGX), British American Tobacco (AMEX:BTI), Alliance One Intl., Inc. (NYSE:AOI), and Universal Corporation (NYSE:UVV).

Stock Price Performance: During August 25, 2011 to October 21, 2011, the stock price had risen $1.84 (7.2%) from $25.61 to $27.45. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between March 16, 2011 and March 24, 2011 when shares rose for seven-straight days, rising 6.7% (+$1.59) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between June 20, 2011 and June 29, 2011 when shares fell for eight-straight days, falling 4.5% (-$1.20) over that span. Shares are up $3.91 (+16.6%) year to date.

(Source: Xignite Financials)

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