Argus Reaffirms “Buy” Rating for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

Altria Group (NYSE:MO)‘s stock had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by research analysts at Argus in a research report issued on Wednesday, March 14th. They currently have a $79.00 price objective on the stock, up from their prior price objective of $66.13. Argus’ price objective points to a potential upside of 23.73% from the stock’s previous close.

Several other brokerages have also recently issued reports on MO. Jefferies Group set a $72.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, November 17th. Vetr raised shares of Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $71.45 price objective on the stock in a research note on Friday, January 26th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $78.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, February 6th. Piper Jaffray lifted their price objective on shares of Altria Group from $76.00 to $81.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Finally, Berenberg Bank upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their target price for the stock from $60.01 to $71.00 in a report on Tuesday, December 19th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating, ten have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $74.99.

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Shares of MO traded down $0.69 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $63.85. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 6,456,752 shares, compared to its average volume of 8,053,947. The stock has a market capitalization of $121,343.66, a P/E ratio of 18.89, a P/E/G ratio of 1.85 and a beta of 0.62. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.85, a current ratio of 0.64 and a quick ratio of 0.31. Altria Group has a fifty-two week low of $59.07 and a fifty-two week high of $77.79.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $0.91 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.11. The company had revenue of $4.71 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.80 billion. Altria Group had a net margin of 39.97% and a return on equity of 50.01%. The business’s revenue was down .4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.68 EPS. equities research analysts forecast that Altria Group will post 4.01 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Altria Group announced that its board has approved a stock repurchase program on Thursday, February 1st that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

In other Altria Group news, CEO Craig A. Johnson sold 14,953 shares of Altria Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, February 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.59, for a total value of $995,720.27. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 64,809 shares in the company, valued at $4,315,631.31. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 3,200 shares of Altria Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 2nd. The shares were 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. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 28,117 shares of company stock valued at $1,821,707. 0.11% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. First Manhattan Co. raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 22.8% in the fourth quarter. First Manhattan Co. now owns 1,125,517 shares of the company’s stock valued at $80,373,000 after purchasing an additional 208,935 shares during the period. Alley Co LLC raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 0.9% in the fourth quarter. Alley Co LLC now owns 102,997 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,355,000 after purchasing an additional 904 shares during the period. Naples Global Advisors LLC raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 6.1% in the fourth quarter. Naples Global Advisors LLC now owns 23,255 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,661,000 after purchasing an additional 1,342 shares during the period. Stifel Financial Corp raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 1.9% in the second quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 845,526 shares of the company’s stock valued at $62,906,000 after purchasing an additional 15,715 shares during the period. Finally, BB&T Securities LLC raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 3.0% in the third quarter. BB&T Securities LLC now owns 499,388 shares of the company’s stock valued at $31,671,000 after purchasing an additional 14,458 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 62.57% of the company’s stock.

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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.

Analyst Recommendations for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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