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Stock Alert: Altria Shares Down After Taking Huge Charge On Juul Investment

Shares of tobacco company Altria Group Inc. (MO) fell 4.23% or $2.12 after the company announced fourth-quarter loss, impacted by a multi-billion impairment charge on its investment in e-cigarette maker Juul Labs.

The company also lowered its earnings outlook for the years 2020 through 2022. The stock closed yesterday's trading at $48. It has been trading in a range of $39.30- $57.88 in the past year.

The tobacco giant had a net loss of $1.814 billion or $1.00 per share in the fourth quarter compared with earnings of $1.251 billion or $0.66 per share in the comparable prior-year quarter. The bottom line was hurt badly by a $4.1 billion impairment charge on Altria's investment in Juul Labs. Altria had bought 35% stake in Juul in December 2018.

Revenue for the quarter was down 1.8% year-over-year to $6.007 billion. Adjusted EPS, however, rose 7.4% to $1.02 in line with the consensus estimate.

For the full-year 2020 adjusted EPS are expected to be in a range of $4.39 to $4.51, a 4%-7% increase from the comparable prior-year period. The company was previously expecting 5% to 8% growth for adjusted EPS in 2020. Altria now does not expect any equity earnings contributions from JUUL through 2022.

As of December 31, 2019, Altria had $500 million remaining in the current $1 billion share repurchase program, which it expects to complete by the end of 2020.

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