Altria Group (MO) Raised to “Hold” at ValuEngine

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ValuEngine upgraded shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Thursday morning, ValuEngine reports.

A number of other analysts have also issued reports on MO. Zacks Investment Research lowered Altria Group from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Friday, January 25th. Bank of America boosted their price objective on Altria Group from $56.00 to $66.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 20th. Citigroup set a $52.00 price objective on Altria Group and gave the company a sell rating in a research note on Thursday, March 28th. TheStreet upgraded Altria Group from a c+ rating to a b- rating in a research note on Friday, March 29th. Finally, Morgan Stanley boosted their price objective on Altria Group from $45.00 to $49.00 and gave the company an underweight rating in a research note on Monday, April 15th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. Altria Group presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $62.53.

Shares of NYSE MO opened at $52.40 on Thursday. Altria Group has a one year low of $42.40 and a one year high of $66.04. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.92, a quick ratio of 0.39 and a current ratio of 0.62. The firm has a market cap of $98.04 billion, a PE ratio of 13.13, a PEG ratio of 1.62 and a beta of 0.35.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The company reported $0.90 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.92 by ($0.02). Altria Group had a net margin of 24.87% and a return on equity of 49.42%. The firm had revenue of $4.39 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.60 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.95 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 6.0% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, research analysts expect that Altria Group will post 4.17 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, July 10th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 14th will be paid a $0.80 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, June 13th. This represents a $3.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 6.11%. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio is currently 80.20%.

In other Altria Group news, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.48, for a total value of $104,960.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, SVP Jody L. Begley sold 3,250 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.38, for a total value of $173,485.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.11% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in MO. FMR LLC increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 68.1% during the 1st quarter. FMR LLC now owns 78,710,352 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,520,337,000 after purchasing an additional 31,883,878 shares during the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 4,426.0% during the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 23,150,081 shares of the company’s stock valued at $469,000 after purchasing an additional 22,638,593 shares during the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 16.6% during the 1st quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 18,325,194 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,052,416,000 after purchasing an additional 2,611,091 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 8.3% during the 1st quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 26,994,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,548,191,000 after purchasing an additional 2,065,560 shares during the last quarter. Finally, AQR Capital Management LLC increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 166.4% during the 1st quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 2,717,179 shares of the company’s stock valued at $154,580,000 after purchasing an additional 1,697,318 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 64.04% of the company’s stock.

About Altria Group

Altria Group, Inc, through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States. It offers cigarettes primarily under the Marlboro brand; cigars principally under the Black & Mild brand; and moist smokeless tobacco products under the Copenhagen, Skoal, Red Seal, and Husky brands.

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Analyst Recommendations for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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