Shares of tobacco company Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE: MO) declined 8.4% on Wednesday to close at $49.49 after Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) analyst Pamela Kaufman downgraded the rating on the stock to Sell from Hold and reduced the target price from $54 to $50 (1% upside potential). The analyst’s bearish view is the result of increasing competition and gas prices. In a research note, Kaufman said, “Historically, there has been a strong inverse relationship between gas prices and cigarette volumes. We anticipate lower cigarette consumption as consumers look for savings, with products sold at gas stations particularly vulnerable.
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Altria (NYSE:MO)
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