Altria Group (MO) is expected to report Q1 earnings before the market open on Thursday, April 26, with a conference call scheduled for 9:00 am ET.
Analysts are looking for a profit of 49c on revenue of $4.01B. The consensus range is 47c-50c for EPS on revenue of $3.94B-$4.07B, according to First Call. In January, the company guided to full-year earnings of $2.17-$2.23 and called Marlboro's retail share gains "exceptional" in 2011. Investors will be interested to hear if Altria's flagship cigarette brand carried that momentum into this year, but will be unlikely to get an update on the company's litigation, seeing how Altria declined to discuss the status of its lawsuits on its last earnings call.
Since its last report, Wells Fargo upgraded its rating on Altria's stock to Outperform, citing stabilizing Marlboro market share and growing profitability. In March, the firm called Altria its top U.S. tobacco stock, pairing its upgrade of the company with a downgrade of Reynolds American (RAI). More recently, Davenport upgraded Altria to a Buy rating with a $34 price target, saying it expects Marlboro volume results to beat consensus.