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Altria Group, Inc. (MO)

  • Jun. 11, 2014, 2:51 AM
    • Seven U.S. senators have urged the Department of Transportation to finally ban the use of electronic cigarettes on domestic flights and those to or from the United States. The ban for "vaping" on U.S. flights was proposed in September 2011.
    • Although many airlines have prohibited the use of e-cigarettes, federal law still allows them to be used during flights.
    • Related tickers: (MO) (BTI) (LO) (PM) (ECIG) (VAPE) (HPNN) (MCIG) (NTRR) (VAPR) (VPCO) (RAI) (AHII)
  • May 30, 2014, 8:38 AM
    • Big Tobacco (LO, RAI, MO) will dominate the e-cigarette business due to its resources and established distribution network, according to RBC Capital Markets analys Nik Modi.
    • A merger between Lorillard and Reynolds American would only heighten the advantage of the majors over smaller players (ECIG, MCIG, AHII), reasons the investment firm.
  • May 20, 2014, 9:01 AM
    • British researchers find that e-cig users have a 60% higher success rate in quitting than those who use smoking cessation products like patches or gum or willpower alone. In a five-year study of almost 6,000 smokers, almost 20% of those who switched to e-cigs stopped smoking conventional fags. Only ~10% of those using patches or gum managed to quit. Slightly more than 15% quit using their willpower.
    • The long-term effects of vaping are unknown at present but they appear to be less bad than tobacco.
    • Related tickers: (MO) (BTI) (LO) (PM) (ECIG) (VAPE) (HPNN) (MCIG) (MWIP) (NTRR) (VAPR) (VPCO)
  • May 18, 2014, 3:03 AM
    • Some health insurers intend to join more state Obamacare exchanges next year, a development that could lead to more moderate price increases, or even prices falls, as competition increases.
    • In Washington state, for example, four insurers plan to sell coverage for the first time in 2015, while in Indiana, the number of providers could double to eight.
    • Of the insurers, UnitedHealth Group (UNH) is set to offer new plans in the states mentioned, adding to five exchanges that it already operates on.
    • The providers could be hoping to benefit from "second-mover" advantage whereby they will look to sign up the increased number of younger and healthier people who are forecast to purchase coverage next year as the penalty for not doing so increases. Those who are in worse health and bought coverage last year are expected to remain with their existing plans.
    • Meanwhile, the Center for American Progress (CAP) think tank, which is close to the White House, has called for President Obama to appoint a CEO with private-sector experience to oversee Obamacare's federal and state online health insurance exchanges. The idea is that the exchanges would run as e-commerce sites. The CEO would also oversee insurers and market regulations, although not Medicare or Medicaid. (CAP report)
    • More on Obamacare
    • Health insurers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MO
  • May 16, 2014, 2:06 PM
    • The Minnesota Legislature passes a bill restricting the use and sale of electronic cigarettes. It now heads to Governor Mark Dayton's desk for his signature.
    • The bill requires child-proof packaging for all e-cig liquids, prohibits their use in schools, prohibits their sale from mall kiosks and requires them to be kept behind the counter in stores. The law allows local governments to pass more stringent restrictions and ensures penalties for those who sell e-cigs to minors.
    • E-cig use is also banned in hospitals, healthcare clinics, doctors' offices, most government buildings, all facilities owned by the University of MN or MN State Colleges and Universities, including dorm rooms and licensed daycare facilities, including home daycare during operating hours.
    • The bill is a watered down version of an earlier bill that would have treated e-cigs the same way as conventional cigarettes.
    • Related tickers: (MO) (BTI) (LO) (PM) (ECIG) (VAPE) (HPNN) (MCIG) (MWIP) (NTRR)
  • Apr. 30, 2014, 10:20 AM
    • A group of politicians in the state of New York plan to propose a bill which would ban electronic cigarettes in public spaces.
    • A local ban in New York City started earlier this week.
    • Related stocks: MO, BTI, LO, PM, ECIG, VGR, XXII
  • Apr. 29, 2014, 12:55 PM
    • Bankers and lawyers are busy working on potential mergers in the tobacco industry, reports CNBC (video).
    • The biggest buzz is over the potential that Reynolds American (RAI +1.4%) will buy Lorillard (LO +3%) for as much as $80 per share.
    • Though Wells Fargo notes Reynolds would have to divest some significant menthol brands to get a Lorillard deal past regulators, the firm sees a deal as likely.
  • Apr. 24, 2014, 12:57 PM
    • Tobacco stocks brush aside news that the FDA is moving closer to regulating the e-cigarette industry.
    • Lorillard (LO +1.1%), Altria (MO +0.6%), Reynolds American (RAI +1.5%), Vector (VGR +1.1%), and Philip Morris (PM +0.6%) are all in positive territory for the day.
    • The early read on the action by the FDA is that it may favor the larger players in the e-cig industry as the barriers to entry become more rigid.
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  • Apr. 24, 2014, 7:08 AM
    • Altria (MO) reports smokeable product volume fell 2.5% in Q1. The company's Marlboro brand saw a 2.4% drop in volume.
    • The company says it will continue to make disciplined investments to help it find new income streams.
    • 2014 EPS guidance is reaffirmed at $2.52-$2.59.
  • Apr. 24, 2014, 7:02 AM
    • Altria (MO): Q1 EPS of $0.57 in-line.
    • Revenue of $5.52B (-0.2% Y/Y) beats by $1.49B.
    • Press Release
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  • Apr. 24, 2014, 4:41 AM
    • The FDA is set to unveil proposals to regulate electronic cigarettes, which will include an eventual ban on sales to anyone under 18. Manufacturers will also have to gain FDA approval for their products, disclose the chemicals used in the devices and add health warning about the addictiveness of nicotine.
    • The measures don't include a ban on TV ads, online sales or flavored versions.
    • Lorillard (LO) commands almost 50% of the e-cigarette market in convenience stores, while Altria Group (MO) and Reynolds American (RAI) are starting to ramp up their offerings.
  • Apr. 17, 2014, 7:08 AM
    • As e-cigarettes grow in popularity so have instances of burns, toxicity and respiratory and cardiovascular problems. Over the past 12 months, 50 complaints were filed with the FDA which matches the total for the previous five years.
    • The FDA is poised to regulate the $2B industry which some observers believe will overtake tobacco's $85B in ten years.
    • The long-term effects of vaping are unknown.
    • Most e-cigarettes are made in China and sold under more than 300 brands in the U.S.
    • The quality of the brands varies widely so some manufacturing has moved to America.
    • (MO) (BTI) (LO) (PM) (ECIG)
  • Apr. 11, 2014, 9:06 AM
    • In its latest effort to curtail smoking, the Chinese government proposes a ban on using its money to buy cigarettes as gifts or to be provided at official functions. The rule also seeks a ban cigarette advertising and smoking in public places like schools, train stations and hospitals. Miscreants would pay fines up to $32.
    • China is the world's largest tobacco market. A ban on smoking in certain public places is already in effect but is largely ignored.
    • (MO) (BTI) (LO) (PM)
  • Apr. 11, 2014, 4:01 AM
    • The White House has confirmed that Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning and will be replaced by Sylvia Burwell, the director of the Office of Management & Budget, assuming the latter is confirmed by the Senate.
    • Sebelius' departure comes after she said in October that she should be held "accountable for the debacle" of the launch of Obamacare, although the program did reach the government's target of 7M sign-ups by the end of March. She said yesterday that at least 7.5M people have enrolled.
    • One of Burwell's first challenges will be to work with health insurers as they set prices for Obamacare plans in 2015, which industry executives have warned could rise sharply.
    • More on Obamacare
    • Health insurers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MO
    • Hospital operators: HCA, CYH, THC, UHS, HMA, LPNT
    • Pharmacies: WAG, CVS, BIOS, RAD, MHS, PMC, OCR
  • Apr. 9, 2014, 2:44 PM
    • Nomura dives into the tobacco industry to pick winners and losers.
    • The investment firm's preferred pick is Reynolds American (RAI +1.1%) which shows "superior" profit growth potential in relation to peers. RAI is rated a Buy with a $66 price target.
    • Altria (MO +0.6%) was initiated at Neutral as Nomura takes its 2015 EPS view to below consensus.
    • The rating on Lorillard (LO -2.3%) is set at Reduce by the firm due to the inflated acquisition premium the market is giving the company.
  • Apr. 9, 2014, 7:47 AM
    • People who bought Obamacare coverage early were more likely to receive treatments for pain, depression and HIV, a study by Express Scripts (ESRX) shows.
    • The data indicates that the early enrollees have more serious health problems and are older than people with employee plans.
    • However, the report doesn't cover those who signed up later, who tended to be younger and presumably healthier, according to anecdotal evidence.
    • More on Obamacare
    • Health insurers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MO
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Company Description
Altria Group Inc` through its subsidiaries manufactures and sells cigarettes, other tobacco products, machine-made large cigars and pipe tobacco. It also maintains a portfolio of leveraged and direct finance leases.
Industry: Cigarettes
Country: United States