Boston, MA 08/12/2014 (wallstreetpr) – The largest tobacco producer in the U.S, Altria Group Inc. (NYSE:MO), has been the subject of increased litigation cases in the U.S as well as falling sales that have cast doubts over its future. The effects of the headwinds have not been detrimental as the company has already retaken its 50 day moving average as it continues to work on a possible new base.
Altria Stock up by 10%
Despite the ongoing challenges in the cigarette industry, Altria Group Inc. (NYSE:MO)’s stock is already 10% up for the year outpacing the S&P 500 index and 3% below its new high. For shareholders, the company continues to be one of the best in terms of dividend pays, having boosted its dividend yield 47 times over the past 44 years. Its annual dividend yield currently stands little under 5%, but above the S&P 500 average of 1.94%
Last month, Altria Group Inc. (NYSE:MO) reported a 5% increase in its Q2 profit slightly below analyst expectations with revenue, on the other hand, going down by 1% to $6.26 billion. Altria has shifted its focus into raising prices of its products, as well as expanding into smokeless offerings, such as chewing tobacco as a way of trying to offset a long-term slide in cigarettes sales
Altria New Focus
Altria Group Inc. (NYSE:MO) is also rolling out electronic cigarettes seen as a safer alternative to tobacco, although they continue to face immense scrutiny from regulators. On July 19, the company suffered its biggest upset after it was ordered to pay a total of $23.5 billion in the form of damages to a widow whose husband died of lung cancer as a result of its products an amount the company has vehemently opposed and is planning to appeal.
The verdict by the court came barely days after Reynolds had announced plans to buy Lorillard, expected to create the largest tobacco company after Altria. Despite the headwinds, Altria Group Inc. (NYSE:MO) continues to command a five-year earnings stability factor of 1 on a scale of zero.