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Rating Upgrades For Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) Before Quarterly Results

Boston, MA 10/21/2013 (wallstreetpr) – The holding company of Phillip Morris brand of tobacco products, Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) is set to announce its third quarter results on Oct. 24, 2013. But it seems that markets in general are having a positive vibe about the numbers. Many rating agencies and research houses have upped the target price for Altria Group. The stock currently trades at $35.86 and has been in a tight trading range of $30-$37 in last 12 months. But as per the grapevine, it is possible that the stock might break out of this range on the upper side.

Analysts at JPMorgan Chase are very optimistic about company’s growth prospects considering the nature of industry it operates in. They have given an Overweight rating and raised their targets for Altria Group to $51. This is quite an upgrade considering that just in last report, they had given a Buy call with Target of $45. New target gives a potential upside of close to 50%. Another price target raise has been given by Barclays. It has assigned a new target of $34, up from earlier $31. But analysts at Zach still have Neutral rating for the stock and maintain their earlier price target of $37 for Altria’s shares.

With revenues of $4.53 billion in last quarter, company had missed street estimates of earnings per share of 63 cents by a single cent. As per consensus, Altria is expected to achieve $2.39 EPS for the current financial year. But it may give a positive surprise with an EPS in $2.57-$2.62 range. Current market optimism is also based on the fact that there would be an increased income for the company from settlement of a dispute dating back to 2003. The dispute was related to escrow payments from other manufactures and once the settlement agreement is in force, monetary credits would be given back to cigarette manufactures like Altria. One of Altria’s subsidiary companies Phillip Morris is rumored to be getting a sum close to $47 million.

Published by Alan Masterson

Alan has over 25 years of trading experience in the U.S. equity markets. He began his career in finance working on a program trading desk specializing in over-the-counter stocks. His career progressed from that point to his current position as senior trader on an institutional trading desk. In the evenings, Alan teaches economics at a local community college. He has contributed articles to various publications over the last six years, including feature articles for an economics magazine and various financial blogs. You may contact Alan via his email ([email protected]) or his Google+ page (

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