What happened

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) stock rose 11% last month according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, outpacing the market as measured by the S&P 500's 3.4% gain. That increase still left its performance well behind those of the broader indexes for the year, but it did push the tobacco giant, which had been down by as much as 15% in 2019, back into positive territory. The stock's high dividend payment contributed to further gains for shareholders.

A woman smoking.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

November's rise followed a generally strong third-quarter report that was released on the final trading day of October. The tobacco giant revealed a 2% revenue increase along with modest declines in cigarette volumes. Altria also took a massive writedown charge related to its investment in electronic cigarette company Juul Labs.

Now what

The results demonstrated the power of Altria's selling model, with adjusted earnings per share rising 10% last quarter. Cigarette price increases are likely to keep its earnings rising into 2020, too, management says, despite an expected 6% slide in annual sales volume.