Whisper Number: How Will Altria’s Stock Move After Earnings?

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) is expected to report earnings on Tuesday, July 22nd. The whisper number is 68 cents, 2 cents ahead of the analysts’ estimate and showing some confidence from investors. Altria has a 47 percent positive surprise history (having topped the whisper in 17 of the 36 earnings reports for which we have data).

Earnings history:

  • Beat whisper: 17 qtrs
  • Met whisper: 3 qtrs
  • Missed whisper: 16 qtrs

Our primary focus is on post earnings price movement. Knowing how likely a stock’s price will move following an earnings report can help you determine the best action to take (long or short). In other words, we analyze what happens when the company beats or misses the whisper number expectation.

The table below indicates the average post earnings price movement within a one and 30 trading day timeframe:

MO714A

The strongest price movement of +3 percent comes within 30 trading days when the company reports earnings that beat the whisper number and +2.5 percent within 20 trading days when the company reports earnings that miss the whisper number. Although the strongest price moves are positive, the overall average price move is “as expected” (beat the whisper number and see strength, miss and see weakness) when the company reports earnings.

The last time the company had a whisper was in October 2013 (three quarters back). For that quarter, the company reported earnings 2 cents ahead of the whisper number. Following that report, the stock realized a 2.1 percent gain in five trading days. Overall historical data indicate the company to be (on average within 30 trading days) a “as expected” price reactor when the company reports earnings.

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John Scherr is the founder and president of WhisperNumber.com, an independent financial research firm focused on earnings expectations. He is a regular contributor to CNBC and Fox Business Network, and has been featured in Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal, and MarketWatch. He is considered a leading expert on “whisper numbers” and post earnings price movement analysis. WhisperNumber.com provides specific earnings trade alerts to take advantage of earnings report price movement with its Whisper Reactors subscription service.

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