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MO

Altria Group

$50.35

1.41 (2.88%)

11:26
02/20/19
02/20
11:26
02/20/19
11:26

Altria Group backs long-term adjusted EPS growth at 7%-9% annual rate

In comments being presented at CAGNY, Altria said its long-term financial goals remain: to grow adjusted diluted earnings per share at an average annual rate of 7% to 9%; and to maintain a dividend payout ratio target of approximately 80% of adjusted diluted EPS. Says that during 2018, the company concluded that JUUL "had not only become the retail share leader in the U.S. e-vapor category, but that no other brand was close to it in share or future growth potential." Says believes concerns around cannabilization risk and effect on Marlboro from Juul deal are overstated. Projects the investment in Juul to generate an after-tax return exceeding its current weighted-average cost of capital in 2023. Says remains "fully" committed to the success of IQOS in the U.S. Says encourages the FDA to take action industry-wide, specifically in the form of banning retail and vape store sales of all non-traditional flavors until the youth issue is addressed. Believes a menthol ban would be inappropriate and subject to judicial challenge. For 2019, continues to expect earnings growth to come in the last three quarters of the year with a mid-single digit decline in the first quarter.

  • 20

    Feb

MO Altria Group
$50.35

1.41 (2.88%)

01/22/19
MSCO
01/22/19
DOWNGRADE
MSCO
Underweight
Altria Group downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
01/22/19
01/22/19
DOWNGRADE
Target $45

Underweight
Altria Group downgraded to Underweight on slower growth at Morgan Stanley
As previously reported, Morgan Stanley analyst Pamela Kaufman downgraded Altria Group to Underweight from Equal Weight after reducing her forecasts to low-single-digit EPS growth starting in 2019 based on her expectation for accelerated cigarette industry volume declines. She cites shifting demographic trends, category disruption and "harsh FDA regulatory objectives" for her volume decline forecast. However, Kaufman also believes the recent de-rating of Philip Morris (PM) shares is unwarranted, as she contends that global cigarette fundamentals are solid and the company is not subject to many of the risks impacting U.S. tobacco. She cut her price target on Altria shares to $45 from $54 and keeps an Overweight rating on Philip Morris with an $80 price target.
02/01/19
WELS
02/01/19
NO CHANGE
Target $65
WELS
Outperform
Altria Q4 results reflect strong relative position, says Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog reiterated her Outperform rating and $65 price target on Altria shares following the company's Q4 earnings report, citing her view that the company's results reflect its strong execution and her incrementally better feelings about Altria's new growth strategy. The report shows Marlboro stabilized and that Altria's investments behind Marlboro are working, said Herzog, who also believes increased transparency with regard to JUUL was "broadly well-received."
02/01/19
STFL
02/01/19
NO CHANGE
Target $59
STFL
Buy
Altria shares have upside potential beyond earnings rally, says Stifel
Stifel analyst Christopher Growe said in a note titled "A Vigorous Defense" that he gives Altria management credit for "tackling and refuting some of the tough issues that have significantly weighed on its stock." The company guided for a 4%-5% cigarette category decline, which was better than expectations, and shared a robust growth outlook for JUUL that supports a greater than 8% return on its $12.8B investment, said Growe. Despite the stock's initial favorable reaction, he sees more upside potential for the shares, added Growe, who keeps a Buy rating and $59 price target on Altria.

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