Merit Financial Group LLC Purchases New Stake in Altria Group Inc (MO)

Merit Financial Group LLC purchased a new position in shares of Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) during the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm purchased 8,846 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $631,000.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Independent Franchise Partners LLP raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 24.0% during the fourth quarter. Independent Franchise Partners LLP now owns 3,104,104 shares of the company’s stock worth $221,664,000 after purchasing an additional 600,840 shares during the period. Moors & Cabot Inc. raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 24.2% during the fourth quarter. Moors & Cabot Inc. now owns 62,919 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,484,000 after purchasing an additional 12,277 shares during the period. Scotia Capital Inc. raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 3.4% during the fourth quarter. Scotia Capital Inc. now owns 62,504 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,464,000 after purchasing an additional 2,041 shares during the period. CWA Asset Management Group LLC raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 5.5% during the fourth quarter. CWA Asset Management Group LLC now owns 60,998 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,356,000 after purchasing an additional 3,182 shares during the period. Finally, Signaturefd LLC raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 4.7% during the fourth quarter. Signaturefd LLC now owns 36,898 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,635,000 after purchasing an additional 1,645 shares during the period. 62.57% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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Shares of Altria Group stock opened at $63.85 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 0.64, a quick ratio of 0.31 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.85. The company has a market capitalization of $122,654.98, a P/E ratio of 18.89, a PEG ratio of 1.87 and a beta of 0.62. Altria Group Inc has a 52-week low of $59.07 and a 52-week high of $77.79.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $0.91 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.11. The firm had revenue of $4.71 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.80 billion. Altria Group had a return on equity of 50.01% and a net margin of 39.97%. The business’s revenue was down .4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.68 earnings per share. research analysts forecast that Altria Group Inc will post 4.01 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 10th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be paid a $0.70 dividend. This represents a $2.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.39%. This is an increase from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.66. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 82.84%.

Altria Group declared that its board has authorized a share buyback plan on Thursday, February 1st that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

MO has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. Vetr lowered Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $67.97 target price on the stock. in a research report on Monday, December 11th. Berenberg Bank raised Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their target price for the company from $60.01 to $71.00 in a research report on Tuesday, December 19th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 2nd. Wells Fargo lifted their target price on Altria Group from $80.00 to $85.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 4th. Finally, Jefferies Group raised Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and dropped their target price for the company from $70.04 to $70.00 in a research report on Friday, January 19th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating, ten have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Altria Group presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $74.99.

In other Altria Group news, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 3,200 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.34, for a total value of $199,488.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CEO Brian W. Quigley sold 3,464 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.40, for a total value of $216,153.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 28,117 shares of company stock valued at $1,821,707. Corporate insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

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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.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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