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Altria Profit Jumps 27%, Helped by Smokeless Unit

Smokeless Unit
Altria Group Inc.’s fourth quarter earnings rose 27% as margins improved and the company again reported strength at its smokeless tobacco unit.

Though results for the latest quarter were in line with analysts’ estimates, the tobacco giant warned 2011 will be a challenging year given stiff competition, possible new state-level excise taxes and pressures on consumer spending.

Altria forecast full-year per-share earnings of between $2.01 and $2.07, with results strengthening as the year progresses. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect $2.02 a share.

The maker of Marlboro cigarettes and Skoal and Copenhagen smokeless tobacco has posted better results recently despite.

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