Teacher Retirement System of Texas trimmed its holdings in Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) by 26.9% during the fourth quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The fund owned 1,011,184 shares of the company’s stock after selling 371,421 shares during the period. Teacher Retirement System of Texas’ holdings in Altria Group were worth $72,209,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Several other institutional investors have also made changes to their positions in the company. AE Wealth Management LLC increased its stake in Altria Group by 14.2% in the 4th quarter. AE Wealth Management LLC now owns 60,580 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,326,000 after buying an additional 7,513 shares during the period. Retirement Income Solutions Inc acquired a new position in Altria Group in the 4th quarter valued at $477,000. Regal Investment Advisors LLC increased its stake in Altria Group by 2.5% in the 4th quarter. Regal Investment Advisors LLC now owns 65,675 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,690,000 after buying an additional 1,595 shares during the period. Wellington Shields Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in Altria Group in the 4th quarter valued at $219,000. Finally, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Co. increased its stake in Altria Group by 7.7% in the 4th quarter. Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Co. now owns 10,895 shares of the company’s stock valued at $778,000 after buying an additional 780 shares during the period. 62.77% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
In related news, CEO Craig A. Johnson sold 14,953 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.59, for a total value of $995,720.27. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 64,809 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,315,631.31. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, CEO Brian W. Quigley sold 3,464 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.40, for a total transaction of $216,153.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 28,117 shares of company stock worth $1,821,707. Corporate insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.
Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $0.91 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.11. Altria Group had a net margin of 39.97% and a return on equity of 50.01%. The business had revenue of $4.71 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.80 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.68 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down .4% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts predict that Altria Group Inc will post 4 earnings per share for the current year.
Altria Group announced that its board has approved a stock repurchase program on Thursday, February 1st that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are generally a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 10th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.70 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. This is a boost from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.66. This represents a $2.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.26%. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio is 49.62%.
Several equities analysts have issued reports on MO shares. Berenberg Bank raised shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their price objective for the company from $60.01 to $71.00 in a research note on Tuesday, December 19th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, March 6th. Vetr cut shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $71.65 price target on the stock. in a research note on Monday, December 4th. Jefferies Group raised shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and lowered their price target for the stock from $70.04 to $70.00 in a research note on Friday, January 19th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co upped their price target on shares of Altria Group from $80.00 to $85.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 4th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating, eight have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $73.66.
About Altria Group
Altria Group, Inc is a holding company. The Company’s segments include smokeable products, smokeless products and wine. The Company’s subsidiaries include Philip Morris USA Inc (PM USA), which is engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes in the United States; John Middleton Co (Middleton), which is engaged in the manufacture and sale of machine-made cigars and pipe tobacco, and UST LLC (UST), which, through its subsidiaries, including U.S.
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