Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) – Analysts at Jefferies Group upped their FY2018 EPS estimates for Altria Group in a research note issued on Monday. Jefferies Group analyst O. Bennett now anticipates that the company will post earnings per share of $4.02 for the year, up from their prior forecast of $3.95. Jefferies Group has a “Buy” rating and a $70.00 price objective on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Altria Group’s FY2019 earnings at $4.37 EPS, FY2020 earnings at $4.84 EPS and FY2021 earnings at $5.24 EPS.
Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $0.91 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.80 by $0.11. The company had revenue of $4.71 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.80 billion. Altria Group had a net margin of 39.97% and a return on equity of 50.01%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down .4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.68 EPS.
Other equities research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Berenberg Bank raised shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price objective for the company from $60.01 to $71.00 in a research note on Tuesday, December 19th. Vetr lowered shares of Altria Group from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $71.65 price objective for the company. in a research note on Monday, November 13th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $78.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Tuesday, February 6th. Wells Fargo & Co lifted their price objective on shares of Altria Group from $80.00 to $85.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 4th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies lifted their price objective on shares of Altria Group from $76.00 to $81.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating, eight have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $73.66.
Shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) opened at $65.89 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.85, a quick ratio of 0.31 and a current ratio of 0.64. Altria Group has a 52 week low of $60.01 and a 52 week high of $77.79. The stock has a market cap of $124,764.48, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.36, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.91 and a beta of 0.63.
Altria Group declared that its board has initiated a stock repurchase program on Thursday, February 1st that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are often an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 10th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be given a dividend of $0.70 per share. This is a positive change from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.66. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $2.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.25%. Altria Group’s payout ratio is currently 49.62%.
In other Altria Group news, CEO Craig A. Johnson sold 14,953 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, February 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.59, for a total transaction of $995,720.27. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 64,809 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,315,631.31. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 3,200 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, March 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.34, for a total transaction of $199,488.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 28,117 shares of company stock valued at $1,821,707. Company insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.
A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in MO. Balentine LLC increased its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 32.4% during the 2nd quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 1,460 shares of the company’s stock worth $109,000 after purchasing an additional 357 shares during the period. Taylor Hoffman Wealth Management bought a new position in shares of Altria Group during the 4th quarter worth about $120,000. Oak Point Wealth Management bought a new position in shares of Altria Group during the 4th quarter worth about $120,000. INR Advisory Services LLC bought a new position in shares of Altria Group during the 2nd quarter worth about $134,000. Finally, Quantum Capital Management LLC NJ bought a new position in shares of Altria Group during the 3rd quarter worth about $114,000. 62.77% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
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About Altria Group
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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