Altria (NYSE:MO), the company that’s known for manufacturing Marlboro cigarettes, released its fourth-quarter 2022 financial results today. MO stock traders seem to be highly impressed with those results. However, they’re also celebrating Altria’s large-scale share buyback plan.
CEO Billy Gifford boasted about Altria’s “strong financial performance,” but he has multiple data points to back this up. First of all, Altria generated $6.111 billion in Q4 2022 revenue. That’s down 2.3% year over year (YOY), but it easily beat Wall Street’s consensus estimate of $5.148 billion.
Turning to the bottom line, Altria reported quarterly adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.18. This represents an 8.3% YOY improvement and slightly exceeds the analysts’ consensus prediction of $1.17.
Gifford provided even more fodder for the bulls, with moderately ambitious forward bottom-line guidance. “We expect to deliver 2023 full-year adjusted diluted EPS in a range of $4.98 to $5.13, representing a growth rate of 3% to 6% from a base of $4.84 in 2022,” he revealed.
What’s Happening With MO Stock?
By 10:30 a.m. Eastern today, MO stock was up 5% and moving closer to the crucial $50 level. Indeed, $50 has been a significant and frustrating resistance level since August of last year.
Could today signify the start of a long-term rally? It’s possible, as Altria not only provided expectation-beating fiscal results but also made a big announcement.
Along with the earnings report, Altria disclosed that its board of directors authorized a $1 billion share repurchase program. Altria’s management expects this program to complete by Dec. 31 of this year.
It’s a sign that Altria is fully committed to focusing on its loyal shareholders. Amazingly, Altria repurchased $1.8 billion worth of its own shares last year.
Also in 2022, Altria paid out a whopping $6.6 billion worth of dividends. Thus, the company is providing multiple reasons for investors to buy MO stock — and clearly, some folks are paying attention and adding to their share positions today.
On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.