Altria Group (MO) is set to report its first-quarter earnings on April 25. As of April 18, Altria stock was trading at $54.37, 13.7% higher than when it announced its fourth-quarter results on January 31. Its price was 17.7% lower than its 52-week high of $66.04, and 28.2% above its 52-week low of $42.40.
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In the fourth quarter, Altria’s adjusted EPS of $0.95 aligned with analysts’ expectations, but its revenue of $4.79 billion fell short of their estimate of $4.81 billion. Despite its lower-than-expected sales, the company’s stock rose due to investor optimism surrounding Altria’s investment in Cronos Group (CRON) and Juul Labs. Altria stock was also boosted by the resignation announcement of FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who was working on restricting the sale of e-cigarettes at convenience stores and gas stations.
However, the FDA announced on April 3 that it would be investigating reports of e-cigarette users experiencing seizures after smoking. The announcement dragged down Altria stock.
After losing 30.8% of its value last year, Altria stock has returned 10.1% this year. Meanwhile, peers Philip Morris International (PM) and British American Tobacco (BTI) have returned 26.6, and 24.9%, respectively, and the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP), which invests in cigarette and tobacco companies, has risen 12.0%.