Cigarette prices boost Altria

Investor's Business Daily

The maker of Marlboro cigarettes said Q4 EPS rose 10% to 55 cents, in line with views. Sales rose 2.5% to $4.46 bil, above estimates of $4.34 bil as it raised prices for cigarettes and smokeless. Cigarette volumes rose less than 1%, but discount brand volumes grew 7%. Altria (MO) sees '13 EPS of $2.35-$2.41 vs. analyst estimates of $2.38. High unemployment and budget cuts have state gov'ts looking at taxing tobacco products as a way to raise money, according to CEO Marty Barrington on the conference call. Shares fell 0.1% to 33.68.

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