Market Overview

J.P. Morgan Overweight On Altria (MO)


J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. has an Overweight rating and a $23 price target on shares of Altria (NYSE: MO).

In a note to clients, J.P. Morgan writes, "The FDA-led investigation into menthol in US cigarettes continues, with the full report due by 23 March 2011. Two further draft chapters of the report were released last night. It remains our view that menthol will not be banned from US cigarettes (see Global Tobacco: The End is Nigh for more details) but we continue to believe that there remains headline risk around the (non-binding) report to the FDA to be published by TPSAC."

J.P. Morgan goes on to say, "While we do not expect menthol ultimately to be banned, there remains the risk that TPSAC recommends that it should be, whether this is necessarily supported by all the evidence it has reviewed or not. Because
of this share prices – in particular Lorillard as the most exposed company in the sector - could remain volatile over the shorter term. Our recommendations remain unchanged."

Shares of MO gained 43 cents yesterday to close at $25.37, a gain of 1.7%.


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