Thursday, October 25, 2012

Stocks In News: Altria Group Inc. (NYSE:MO), Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S)

Altria Group, Inc.(NYSE:MO), which makes the well-known and iconic Marlboro brand of cigarettes, reported a 44 percent fall in net income in the third quarter, due to charges for a loss on early retirement of debt.

On the flip side it did sell more cigarettes and at higher prices and also managed to expand its market share.

The group, which owns cigarette maker Philip Morris reported net income of $657 million, or 32 cents per share, for the three-month period ended Sept. 30, down from $1.17 billion or 57 cents a share, a year earlier.

Earnings were impacted by previously announced plan to buy back $2 billion in debt, which resulted in a charge of $874 million in the third quarter. Adjusted earnings were 58 cents per share, matching Wall Street expectations.

The company said revenues, excluding excise taxes, rose about 3 percent to $4.46 billion as higher costs to promote its top-selling Marlboro brand were offset by higher prices and volumes. Analysts expected revenue of $4.36 billion.

Meanwhile network services provider Sprint Nextel Corporation(NYSE:S) on Thursday said that its number of subscribers fell in the third quarter, for the first time in two and a half years, as customers switched to other service providers, fed up with the Nextel network.

Sprint lost an overall 423,000 subscribers in the July to September period, as trends across its product line-up were weak.

Sprint's loss was $767 million, or 26 cents per share, for the July-September quarter, from a loss of $301 million, or 10 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $8.76 billion.

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