Altria Group (MO) Cut to Buy at Vetr Inc.

Vetr lowered shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Monday. The firm currently has $71.89 price target on the stock.

Several other brokerages have also weighed in on MO. Cowen and Company restated a hold rating and issued a $74.00 price target on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Tuesday, July 11th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Altria Group from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 11th. BidaskClub lowered Altria Group from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 12th. Jefferies Group LLC restated a hold rating and issued a $70.00 price target (down previously from $71.00) on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Monday, July 17th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $76.00 price target on Altria Group and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $72.06.

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

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

Altria Group declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback program on Thursday, July 27th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to purchase up to 0.7% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are often an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

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

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Waldron LP lifted its holdings in Altria Group by 17.1% in the first quarter. Waldron LP now owns 26,627 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,901,000 after acquiring an additional 3,896 shares during the last quarter. Barrett Asset Management LLC lifted its holdings in Altria Group by 2.7% in the first quarter. Barrett Asset Management LLC now owns 30,300 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,164,000 after acquiring an additional 800 shares during the last quarter. Deroy & Devereaux Private Investment Counsel Inc. acquired a new position in Altria Group in the first quarter valued at approximately $201,000. Tarbox Group Inc. lifted its holdings in Altria Group by 50.5% in the first quarter. Tarbox Group Inc. now owns 7,232 shares of the company’s stock valued at $517,000 after acquiring an additional 2,426 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Greenleaf Trust lifted its holdings in Altria Group by 2.2% in the first quarter. Greenleaf Trust now owns 25,069 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,790,000 after acquiring an additional 546 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 61.92% of the company’s stock.

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.

To view Vetr’s full report, visit Vetr’s official website.

Analyst Recommendations for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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