Principal Financial Group Inc. decreased its stake in shares of Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) by 6.8% in the 4th quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The institutional investor owned 3,064,359 shares of the company’s stock after selling 223,636 shares during the period. Principal Financial Group Inc.’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $151,348,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Several other hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its position in Altria Group by 82,381.0% during the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 22,356,466 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,348,318,000 after purchasing an additional 22,329,361 shares during the period. Primecap Management Co. CA boosted its position in Altria Group by 0.7% during the 3rd quarter. Primecap Management Co. CA now owns 529,204 shares of the company’s stock worth $31,916,000 after purchasing an additional 3,800 shares during the period. Bridgewater Associates LP boosted its position in Altria Group by 147.4% during the 3rd quarter. Bridgewater Associates LP now owns 72,937 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,399,000 after purchasing an additional 43,453 shares during the period. Connors Investor Services Inc. boosted its position in Altria Group by 27.2% during the 3rd quarter. Connors Investor Services Inc. now owns 5,212 shares of the company’s stock worth $314,000 after purchasing an additional 1,113 shares during the period. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC boosted its position in Altria Group by 106.0% during the 3rd quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 730,645 shares of the company’s stock worth $44,065,000 after purchasing an additional 375,945 shares during the period. 64.28% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
A number of brokerages have commented on MO. TheStreet upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a report on Friday. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 6th. Citigroup set a $52.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, March 28th. Bank of America boosted their price objective on shares of Altria Group from $56.00 to $66.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, March 20th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, March 21st. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $64.28.
Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, January 31st. The company reported $0.95 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.95. The business had revenue of $4.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.81 billion. Altria Group had a net margin of 27.45% and a return on equity of 49.05%. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.91 EPS. Sell-side analysts forecast that Altria Group Inc will post 4.21 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 30th. Stockholders of record on Monday, March 25th will be paid a $0.80 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, March 22nd. This represents a $3.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 5.54%. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 80.20%.
In related news, Director Nabil Y. Sakkab bought 1,032 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 21st. The shares were acquired at an average price of $50.42 per share, for a total transaction of $52,033.44. Following the purchase, the director now owns 38,308 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,931,489.36. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Nabil Y. Sakkab bought 1,352 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, February 25th. The stock was bought at an average price of $52.11 per share, for a total transaction of $70,452.72. Following the purchase, the director now owns 39,660 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,066,682.60. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.
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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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