Recent Analysts’ Ratings Changes for Altria Group (MO)

Altria Group (NYSE: MO) has recently received a number of price target changes and ratings updates:

  • 11/1/2017 – Altria Group was upgraded by analysts at Edward Jones from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating.
  • 10/31/2017 – Altria Group was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $73.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Altria has surpassed the industry in the past month, thanks to its progress in the smokeless products category. Growth in market share for smokeless products also benefited the company’s third-quarter 2017 earnings, which rose year over year and topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Favorable pricing for both smokeable and smokeless products also aided the company’s performance. Further, the company expects the smokeless product category, including e-vapor products to continue performing well. Moreover, Altria remains on track with its cost-reduction initiatives and consolidation of its manufacturing facilities to streamline operations.  However, declining demand of tobacco products and stringent government regulations to curb tobacco consumption has been hurting Altria’s top line.Evidently, sales have lagged the consensus mark in seven out of the last nine quarters. Nonetheless, the company retained its 2017 earnings view.”
  • 10/31/2017 – Altria Group had its “hold” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Berenberg Bank.
  • 10/30/2017 – Altria Group was downgraded by analysts at Vetr from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $71.89 price target on the stock.
  • 10/30/2017 – Altria Group had its price target lowered by analysts at Citigroup Inc. from $80.00 to $75.00. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 10/27/2017 – Altria Group had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Piper Jaffray Companies. They now have a $76.00 price target on the stock.
  • 10/27/2017 – Altria Group had its price target lowered by analysts at UBS AG from $72.00 to $68.00. They now have a “neutral” rating on the stock.
  • 10/24/2017 – Altria Group was upgraded by analysts at Vetr from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating. They now have a $71.89 price target on the stock.
  • 10/16/2017 – Altria Group was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of Altria have underperformed the industry in the last three months, owing to declining demand of tobacco. The ongoing anti-tobacco campaigns and price rise to offset surging taxes have been hurting the demand for tobacco. Nevertheless, we believe the company’s shift to low-risk, smokeless tobacco products to boost market share remains appealing. Altria has proactively responded to the changing market scenario toward low-risk tobacco products and offered several reduced risk tobacco products which helped it to maintain market share. MarkTen e-cigarette and Green Smoke e-vapor are few flagship products belonging to this category. Further, Altria is expected to sell Philip Morris’s iQOS heated tobacco product in the domestic market, once it gains approval from the FDA. The company is also on track with its cost-reduction initiatives and consolidation of certain manufacturing facilities to streamline operations.”
  • 10/13/2017 – Altria Group was downgraded by analysts at Vetr from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $71.89 price target on the stock.
  • 10/11/2017 – Altria Group was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $71.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Shares of Altria have underperformed the industry in the last three months, owing to declining demand of tobacco. The ongoing anti-tobacco campaigns and price rise to offset surging taxes have been hurting the demand for tobacco. Nevertheless, we believe the company’s shift to low-risk, smokeless tobacco products to boost market share remains appealing. Altria has proactively responded to the changing market scenario toward low-risk tobacco products and offered several reduced risk tobacco products which helped it to maintain market share. MarkTen e-cigarette and Green Smoke e-vapor are few flagship products belonging to this category. Further, Altria is expected to sell Philip Morris’s iQOS heated tobacco product in the domestic market, once it gains approval from the FDA. The company is also on track with its cost-reduction initiatives and consolidation of certain manufacturing facilities to streamline operations.”
  • 10/3/2017 – Altria Group had its “hold” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Royal Bank Of Canada. They now have a $62.00 price target on the stock.
  • 9/26/2017 – Altria Group was upgraded by analysts at Cowen and Company from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating. They now have a $71.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $64.00.
  • 9/20/2017 – Altria Group was upgraded by analysts at Vetr from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating. They now have a $69.00 price target on the stock.
  • 9/10/2017 – Altria Group had its “hold” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Cowen and Company.
  • 9/6/2017 – Altria Group was downgraded by analysts at Vetr from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $69.00 price target on the stock.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) traded up 0.69% on Wednesday, hitting $64.66. 3,727,218 shares of the stock traded hands. Altria Group has a 12-month low of $60.01 and a 12-month high of $77.79. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $63.77 and a 200-day moving average of $68.91. The firm has a market cap of $124.66 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.53 and a beta of 0.64.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The company reported $0.90 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.87 by $0.03. Altria Group had a net margin of 60.37% and a return on equity of 49.43%. The company had revenue of $5.10 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.22 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.82 EPS. The business’s revenue was down 1.8% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts forecast that Altria Group will post $3.28 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, October 10th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 15th were paid a $0.66 dividend. This is a boost from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $2.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.11%. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio is currently 33.04%.

In other news, Director Dinyar S. Devitre sold 32,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.22, for a total value of $1,959,040.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total transaction of $994,959.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 701,074 shares in the company, valued at approximately $45,590,842.22. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

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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