Shares of Philip Morris (NYSE:PM) climbed 2% on Thursday after the cigarette giant revealed a stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and predicted earnings will grow faster than analysts forecast for 2012.
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The New York-based manufacturer of Marlboro, Parliament and Virginia Slims, earned $1.08 a share during the period, compared with a year-earlier 96 cents.
Excluding one-time items it earned $1.10, which is narrowly ahead of average analyst estimates of $1.09.
Revenue for the three-month period was up 9% to $7.7 billion, beating the Street’s view of $7.38 billion. Its top 10 brands each recorded record volume growth and the company widened its share of the global market.
“While admittedly lifted by Japan, our 2011 results were simply superb in each and every aspect,” Philip Morris CEO Louis Camilleri said in a statement.
Morris acknowledged that economic uncertainty, volatility and year-over-year comparisons to Japan will be a challenge for Philip Morris in 2012. Still, it forecast a profit ahead of expectations.
The company sees fiscal 2012 earnings in the range of $5.25 to $5.35 a share, up from $4.85 in 2011. Wall Street is looking for a profit of $5.19.