December 19, 2018 / 6:35 PM / 10 months ago

BUZZ-Altria: Hits session high on report of Juul stake

** Altria Group Inc shares up 1.6 pct, moving back to session highs, on report that the Marlboro cigarette maker is nearing a deal to take a stake in Juul Labs Inc

** The 35 pct stake would cost Altria $12.8 bln and values e-cigarette maker Juul at $38 bln, sources tell Reuters

** Since Reuters reported late last month on the possibility of a deal, MO has fallen about 6 pct, including session’s gains

** In early Dec, Altria said it would take a 45 pct stake in cannabis producer Cronos Group for $1.8 bln ,

** Cronos shares off 0.1 pct on the day, while Philip Morris slips 1.8 pct

** While MO shares bounced off a near 3-1/2 yr low to move higher, PM shares are trading at 7-yr low

** MO down ~28 pct YTD, snapping a 9-year winning streak, while PM’s ~31 pct YTD losses are its worst ever

** MO trades at 11.8x fwd earnings, while PM trades at 14.2x, highest among tobacco stocks; BAT lowest at 8.1x (Reporting by Savio D’Souza)

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