Altria (MO) Smokes Estimates, Shares Ups

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Altria (MO) announced third-quarter diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.24, up $0.19 or 18.1% versus the prior year.

And, the company had further good tidings. It raised its forecast to a range of $4.20 to $4.25 for 2007 full-year diluted earnings per share from continuing operations.

Revenues net of excise taxes increased 5.9% to $10.0 billion for the third quarter of 2007, driven by increases in both U.S. tobacco and international tobacco.

Operating income increased 10.4% to $3.7 billion.Earnings from continuing operations increased 18.9% to $2.6 billion.

Philip Morris USA (PM USA), Altria Group, Inc.’s U.S. tobacco business, achieved a record 50.6% retail market share.

Philip Morris International (PMI), Altria Group, Inc.’s international tobacco business, reported that its revenues net of excise taxes were up 9.3% to $5.9 billion. Operating companies income grew 18.8% to $2.5 billion, due primarily to higher pricing, favorable currency of $138 million and productivity and cost savings. MO plans to spin-off it international operations.

Shares were up almost 1% to $71.35 before the open.

Douglas A. McIntyre