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Altria Group Annual Meeting Reaffirms Bullish Thesis Altria (NYSE:MO) is among the most consistent stocks you'll find in the market with steady earnings growth and a stable share price. Coupled with its long history of dividend growth and outsized 4% dividend yield, Altria has seen its valuation increase as some investors search for safe blue-chip type investments. 2015 guidance reaffirmedDuring its 2015 Annual Meeting on May 20th, Altria noted the following: Altria reaffirms its guidance for 2015 full-year adjusted diluted earnings per share ("EPS") to be in the range of $2.75 to $2.80, representing a growth rate of 7% to 9% from an adjusted diluted EPS base of $2.57 in 2014. This is a fairly impressive growth rate for a tobacco stock. The midpoint of the guidance is inline with last year's 8% growth (from $2.38 to $2.57), meaning no slowdown is expected. Altria appears to be benefiting from lower cigarette volume declines, especially in its core Marlboro brand, along with increasing pricing power. Indeed, the company posted surprise volume growth during Q1 2015, boosting its cigarette market share 40 basis points to 51.1%, of which 44% was Marlboro (up 20 basis points). In addition, Altria's smokeless products (chewing tobacco) have been seeing their market share grow, now well above 50%, all while posting above average operating income growth. Furthermore, Altria's small wine business has been doing well, while the 27% stake in SABMiller (OTCPK:SBMRY) remains a hidden asset. Expect a dividend increase sometime in Q3 2015Following the meeting, Altria declared its Q2 2015 quarter dividend at $0.52 per share, payable on July 10, 2015, to shareholders of record as of June 15, 2015, with an ex-dividend date of June 11, 2015. This marks Altria's 4th consecutive dividend at the $0.52 rate. This means that it is nearing the time for the company to increase its dividend level. Altria has a long history of dividend growth, with over 45 years of annual increases in the dividend. Altria's last dividend increase was announced on August 21st, 2014. As for how much the 2015 dividend increase could be, Altria has provided some guidance on this front. For example, Altria tends to target an 80% dividend payout ratio based on its adjusted EPS. Given the just reaffirmed 2015 guidance, this implies an annual dividend of $2.20 to $2.24 per share, or $0.55 to $0.56 per quarter. As a result, I am thinking Altria could increase its dividend by 3 or 4 cents to $0.55 or $0.56 per share, which would represent 5.8% to 7.7% growth. At current prices, this could boost Altria's dividend yield to 4.25% to 4.32%, compared to the current 4.00% yield. A look at valuation Altria compared to peersLastly, let us look at Altria's valuation compared to peers such as Lorillard (NYSE:LO) and Reynolds American (NYSE:RAI), and Philip Morris (NYSE:PM). Based on dividend yield, Altria is behind only PM, largely due to the later's underperformance due to its international focus and resulting currency woes. MO: 4.01%LO: 3.63%RAI: 3.47%PM: 4.75%By TTM P/E, at ~21x Altria is well below the soon to be merged LO/RAI at 21-22x, and above PM at ~18x. Do note that this takes into account GAAP earnings, not adjusted for items like the guidance numbers. MO P/E Ratio data by YCharts. By the EV/EBITDA, Altria is inline with LO and PM and way cheaper compared to RAI. This metric is useful given the large amounts of debt carried by these mature companies and given that EBITDA is much more stable compared to EPS. MO EV to EBITDA data by YCharts. Overall, Altria appears to be a compelling pick over LO and RAI, but not as cheap as PM. Again, given Altria's domestic focus, its stock has been sheltered from the strong dollar which has impacted PM over the past few quarters. ConclusionAltria, due to its current 4% yield and long history of dividend growth, remains an attractive choice. This is a blue-chip investment and a long-term winner. While a tad expensive at current prices, Altria could enter the buy zone with another 10% decline or so. MO Total Return price data by YCharts. Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell the stocks mentioned. Please do your own due diligence before making any investment decision.

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