Altria (MO) Expected to Post Quarterly Sales of $4.62 Billion

Equities research analysts expect Altria (NYSE:MO) to post sales of $4.62 billion for the current quarter, Zacks reports. Four analysts have made estimates for Altria’s earnings, with the highest sales estimate coming in at $4.66 billion and the lowest estimate coming in at $4.58 billion. Altria posted sales of $4.59 billion in the same quarter last year, which would indicate a positive year-over-year growth rate of 0.7%. The firm is scheduled to issue its next quarterly earnings report before the market opens on Thursday, April 26th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Altria will report full-year sales of $19.74 billion for the current financial year, with estimates ranging from $19.54 billion to $19.90 billion. For the next fiscal year, analysts forecast that the company will report sales of $20.21 billion per share, with estimates ranging from $19.87 billion to $20.58 billion. Zacks Investment Research’s sales calculations are a mean average based on a survey of sell-side research analysts that follow Altria.

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Altria (NYSE:MO) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $0.91 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.11. The business had revenue of $4.71 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.80 billion. Altria had a net margin of 39.97% and a return on equity of 50.01%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down .4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.68 EPS.

MO has been the topic of several recent research reports. Piper Jaffray set a $75.00 target price on shares of Altria and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday. ValuEngine cut shares of Altria from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Altria from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday. Morgan Stanley decreased their target price on shares of Altria from $74.00 to $70.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, April 18th. Finally, Citigroup cut shares of Altria from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $75.00 target price on the stock. in a research report on Wednesday, April 18th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating, nine have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $73.78.

MO stock traded down $1.27 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $55.30. The company had a trading volume of 13,878,007 shares, compared to its average volume of 8,417,671. The stock has a market cap of $108,762.70, a P/E ratio of 16.36, a PEG ratio of 1.66 and a beta of 0.62. Altria has a 12-month low of $54.83 and a 12-month high of $77.79. The company has a quick ratio of 0.31, a current ratio of 0.64 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.85.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, April 10th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th were issued a dividend of $0.70 per share. This represents a $2.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 5.06%. This is an increase from Altria’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.66. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, March 14th. Altria’s dividend payout ratio is presently 82.84%.

Altria declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, February 1st that permits the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 3,200 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.34, for a total transaction of $199,488.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Craig A. Johnson sold 14,953 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.59, for a total transaction of $995,720.27. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 64,809 shares in the company, valued at $4,315,631.31. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 28,117 shares of company stock worth $1,821,707 over the last quarter. 0.11% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its stake in Altria by 2.0% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 136,023,361 shares of the company’s stock worth $10,129,659,000 after acquiring an additional 2,690,270 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in Altria by 0.8% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 135,404,376 shares of the company’s stock worth $9,669,229,000 after acquiring an additional 1,140,353 shares in the last quarter. Capital World Investors grew its stake in Altria by 27.6% in the 2nd quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 41,157,755 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,065,018,000 after acquiring an additional 8,914,575 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its stake in Altria by 7.6% in the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 21,970,538 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,393,372,000 after acquiring an additional 1,561,120 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC grew its stake in Altria by 3.0% in the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 21,709,187 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,547,228,000 after acquiring an additional 629,732 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 62.53% of the company’s stock.

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About Altria

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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