Jefferies Group Analysts Lift Earnings Estimates for Altria Group (MO)

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) – Stock analysts at Jefferies Group increased their FY2017 EPS estimates for Altria Group in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday. Jefferies Group analyst O. Bennett now expects that the company will earn $3.27 per share for the year, up from their previous forecast of $3.26. Jefferies Group currently has a “Hold” rating and a $67.00 target price on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Altria Group’s FY2018 earnings at $3.59 EPS and FY2019 earnings at $3.78 EPS.

A number of other research firms have also commented on MO. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Vetr upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $69.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, September 20th. Royal Bank Of Canada upgraded shares of Altria Group from an “underperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating and set a $62.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $71.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, October 11th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $76.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $71.99.

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Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The company reported $0.85 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.86 by ($0.01). The firm had revenue of $4.37 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.02 billion. Altria Group had a return on equity of 59.50% and a net margin of 56.98%. The business’s revenue was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.81 EPS.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, October 10th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 15th were given a $0.66 dividend. This is a positive change from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $2.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.07%. Altria Group’s payout ratio is 34.83%.

Altria Group announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share repurchase plan on Thursday, July 27th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to buy up to 0.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

In other Altria Group news, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of Altria Group stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 10th. The shares were 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 owns 701,074 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $45,590,842.22. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, Director Dinyar S. Devitre sold 32,000 shares of Altria Group stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.22, for a total transaction of $1,959,040.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of MO. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. boosted its stake in shares of Altria Group by 133.3% during the 1st quarter. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. now owns 1,400 shares of the company’s stock valued at $100,000 after buying an additional 800 shares during the period. Solaris Asset Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Altria Group by 65.7% during the 2nd quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,405 shares of the company’s stock valued at $105,000 after buying an additional 557 shares during the period. CKW Financial Group acquired a new stake in shares of Altria Group during the 2nd quarter valued at $109,000. Balentine LLC boosted its stake in shares of Altria Group by 32.4% during the 2nd quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 1,460 shares of the company’s stock valued at $109,000 after buying an additional 357 shares during the period. Finally, Perigon Wealth Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Altria Group by 4.7% during the 1st quarter. Perigon Wealth Management LLC now owns 1,641 shares of the company’s stock valued at $118,000 after buying an additional 74 shares during the period. 61.82% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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.

Earnings History and Estimates for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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