Altria Group (NYSE: MO) and Lorillard (NYSE:LO) are both consumer staples companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, dividends, risk, profitabiliy, analyst recommendations, earnings and institutional ownership.

Profitability

This table compares Altria Group and Lorillard’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Altria Group 55.99% 76.43% 15.22%
Lorillard 16.49% N/A 28.79%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Altria Group and Lorillard’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Altria Group $19.40 billion 7.30 $9.66 billion $7.39 9.92
Lorillard N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Altria Group has higher revenue and earnings than Lorillard.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

62.0% of Altria Group shares are held by institutional investors. 0.2% of Altria Group shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent recommendations for Altria Group and Lorillard, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Altria Group 1 6 5 0 2.33
Lorillard 0 0 0 0 N/A

Altria Group presently has a consensus target price of $72.08, suggesting a potential downside of 1.70%. Given Altria Group’s higher probable upside, equities analysts clearly believe Altria Group is more favorable than Lorillard.

Dividends

Altria Group pays an annual dividend of $2.44 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.3%. Lorillard does not pay a dividend. Altria Group pays out 33.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Altria Group has increased its dividend for 8 consecutive years and Lorillard has increased its dividend for 9 consecutive years.

Summary

Altria Group beats Lorillard on 8 of the 11 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Altria Group

Altria Group, Inc. is a holding company. The Company’s segments include smokeable products, smokeless products and wine. The Company’s subsidiaries include Philip Morris USA Inc. (PM USA), which is engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes in the United States; John Middleton Co. (Middleton), which is engaged in the manufacture and sale of machine-made cigars and pipe tobacco, and UST LLC (UST), which, through its subsidiaries, including U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company LLC (USSTC) and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Ltd. (Ste. Michelle), is engaged in the manufacture and sale of smokeless tobacco products and wine. Its other operating companies include Nu Mark LLC (Nu Mark), a subsidiary that is engaged in the manufacture and sale of tobacco products, and Philip Morris Capital Corporation (PMCC), a subsidiary that maintains a portfolio of finance assets. Other subsidiaries include Altria Group Distribution Company and Altria Client Services LLC.

About Lorillard

Lorillard, Inc. (Lorillard) is a tobacco company. The Company is engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes products. The Company operates through two segments: Cigarettes and Electronic Cigarettes. The Cigarettes segment consists of the operations of Lorillard, Inc., Lorillard Tobacco and related entities. The Electronic Cigarettes segment consists of the operations of LOEC, Inc. (blu eCigs), Cygnet U.K. Trading Limited (SKYCIG) and related entities. The Company’s Newport brand includes both menthol and non-menthol product offerings. The Company’s product line includesbrand families marketed under the name Kent, True, Maverick, and Old Gold. These five brands include 45 various product offerings, which vary in price, taste, flavor, length and packaging. The Company also sells electronic cigarettes directly to adult consumers over the Internet. It produces cigarettes for both the premium and discount segments of the domestic cigarette market.

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