Nomura Asset Management Co. Ltd. lessened its stake in Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) by 4.4% in the fourth quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 535,620 shares of the company’s stock after selling 24,934 shares during the quarter. Nomura Asset Management Co. Ltd.’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $38,249,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in Altria Group by 2.0% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 136,023,361 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,129,659,000 after purchasing an additional 2,690,270 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 0.8% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 135,404,376 shares of the company’s stock worth $9,669,229,000 after acquiring an additional 1,140,353 shares in the last quarter. Capital World Investors increased its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 27.6% in the second quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 41,157,755 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,065,018,000 after acquiring an additional 8,914,575 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 7.6% in the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 21,970,538 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,393,372,000 after acquiring an additional 1,561,120 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 3.0% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 21,709,187 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,547,228,000 after acquiring an additional 629,732 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 62.57% of the company’s stock.
In related news, SVP James E. Dillard III sold 6,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.13, for a total transaction of $410,345.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 3,200 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.34, for a total value of $199,488.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 28,117 shares of company stock valued at $1,821,707. 0.11% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $0.91 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.11. The business had revenue of $4.71 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.80 billion. Altria Group had a return on equity of 50.01% and a net margin of 39.97%. Altria Group’s quarterly revenue was down .4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.68 earnings per share. research analysts predict that Altria Group Inc will post 4.01 earnings per share for the current year.
Altria Group declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, February 1st that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 10th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.70 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 14th. This is an increase 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 4.39%. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 82.84%.
Several equities research analysts have issued reports on MO shares. Vetr downgraded Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $67.97 price target for the company. in a report on Monday, December 11th. Berenberg Bank upgraded Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and increased their price target for the stock from $60.01 to $71.00 in a report on Tuesday, December 19th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, January 2nd. Wells Fargo increased their price target on Altria Group from $80.00 to $85.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, January 4th. Finally, Jefferies Group upgraded 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 report on Friday, January 19th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating, ten have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $74.99.
Altria Group Company Profile
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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