Shares of Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) have received a consensus recommendation of “Hold” from the sixteen analysts that are currently covering the firm, MarketBeat reports. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company. The average twelve-month price objective among brokers that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $53.29.
Several research firms recently weighed in on MO. ValuEngine lowered Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, November 1st. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $49.00 price target on Altria Group and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, September 30th. Stifel Nicolaus restated a “buy” rating on shares of Altria Group in a research report on Tuesday, October 15th. Royal Bank of Canada set a $68.00 price target on Altria Group and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 31st. Finally, TheStreet lowered Altria Group from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 14th.
A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Nuveen Asset Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Altria Group by 584.6% in the second quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 8,679,362 shares of the company’s stock worth $410,968,000 after purchasing an additional 7,411,523 shares during the last quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Altria Group by 74.0% in the second quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 4,727,202 shares of the company’s stock worth $223,833,000 after purchasing an additional 2,010,023 shares during the last quarter. Natixis raised its stake in shares of Altria Group by 428.3% in the second quarter. Natixis now owns 1,846,808 shares of the company’s stock worth $87,447,000 after purchasing an additional 1,497,259 shares during the last quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank raised its stake in shares of Altria Group by 73.2% in the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 2,428,023 shares of the company’s stock worth $114,938,000 after purchasing an additional 1,026,362 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised its stake in shares of Altria Group by 11.0% in the second quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 8,811,852 shares of the company’s stock worth $417,241,000 after purchasing an additional 870,944 shares during the last quarter. 63.31% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 31st. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.15 by $0.04. Altria Group had a return on equity of 56.17% and a net margin of 7.00%. The company had revenue of $5.41 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.34 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.08 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 2.3% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, sell-side analysts predict that Altria Group will post 4.21 EPS for the current fiscal year.
Altria Group announced that its board has approved a stock buyback program on Tuesday, July 30th that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to repurchase up to 1.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.
Altria Group Company Profile
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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