Philip Morris: Up in Smoke?

Anti-smoking campaigners are sceptical of the company’s commitment to phase out cigarettes Joe Raedle  Getty Images

Philip Morris International Inc. on Thursday reported a boost in first-quarter profit, but the results missed Wall Street expectations as a decline in cigarette sales continues to cut into revenue. Net revenue from combustible products dropped nearly 7%, and all four of the company's geographical regions were within a few of percentage points of that figure. YHB Investment Advisors Inc. increased its position in shares of Philip Morris International by 0.4% in the third quarter.

Philip Morris shares have risen 25 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has climbed slightly more than 4 percent. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 39,355,323 shares of the company's stock worth $3,826,125,000 after buying an additional 163,627 shares during the period.

For its first fiscal quarter of 2017, eBay earned 49 cents per share on sales of $2.21 billion. Sheets Smith Wealth Management now owns 7,248 shares of the company's stock worth $705,000 after buying an additional 19 shares during the last quarter. YHB Investment Advisors Inc. increased its stake in Philip Morris International by 0.4% in the third quarter. Livingston Group Asset Management CO operating as Southport Capital Management now owns 4,181 shares of the company's stock worth $406,000 after buying an additional 307 shares during the period. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 787,671 shares in the company, valued at $80,854,428.15.

Since the start of the New Year, Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM) by 22.6% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. In fact, the company actually increased its earnings projections for 2017, now expecting bottom-line figures between $4.84 and $4.99 per share.

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Unfortunately, Philip Morris wasn't able to give investors that level of reassurance, as cigarette shipments were unexpectedly weak. The stock's 52-week range is $86.78 to $115.63. For the past 5 days of trading, the stock has seen a move of 1.91%. The firm has a market cap of $170.62 billion, a P/E ratio of 24.55 and a beta of 0.94. Thursday's list of biggest losers includes TESARO Inc (NASDAQ:TSRO), eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Philip Morris International Inc. Reported revenue is net of excise taxes. "We are fully on track to deliver our full-year EPS guidance, driven by robust pricing and accelerating IQOS volume growth".

PM said that total cigarette and heated tobacco unit shipment volume in the first quarter was 178.0 billion, down by 9.4% from a year ago.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, April 11th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 23rd were paid a $1.04 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, March 21st. That translates to a dividend yield of 3.63% at Wednesday's closing price. Philip Morris International's dividend payout ratio is now 92.86%.

Several brokerages recently weighed in on PM. Vetr lowered shares of Philip Morris International from a "hold" rating to a "sell" rating and set a $97.64 price objective for the company.in a research note on Monday, February 6th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised Philip Morris International from a "hold" rating to a "buy" rating and set a $126.00 price target for the company in a report on Wednesday, March 29th. Jefferies Group LLC restated a "hold" rating and issued a $104.00 price target on shares of Philip Morris International in a research report on Friday, March 24th. Philip Morris International presently has an average rating of "Buy" and an average price target of $111.57.

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