Altria, Reynolds American Stocks Rise

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Altria, Reynolds American Stocks Rise

NEW YORK -- After Florida's Supreme Court ruled that $145 billion in punitive damages for cigarette makers Philip Morris, unit of Altria, and Reynolds Tobacco, unit of Reynolds American Inc., were excessive, the stocks for both companies rose more than $4 each.

Altria's stock increased $4.43, to $77.76 per share and Reynolds American Inc. jumped $4.59, to $118.95 per share.

Altria aided the Dow Jones average, which increased .7 percent because of the gain.

CSNews Online reported on Friday that the court allows Altria to continue with its plan to break up the company to bring more value to shareholders. Altria CEO Louis Camilleri said in November that the separation of the company's food and tobacco segments hinged on the Florida case and a similar case in Illinois, which it won. The only decision left is U.S. Department of Justice's racketeering suit, which could be decided any day.

The punitive damages were decided by a Miami jury in 2000. The suit, filed in 1994, involved 700,000 smokers in Florida, and companies such as Philip Morris and Reynolds Tobacco, among others.