Altria (MO) Given Average Rating of “Buy” by Analysts

Altria (NYSE:MO) has been given a consensus rating of “Buy” by the seventeen analysts that are covering the firm, Marketbeat.com reports. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, five have assigned a hold recommendation, nine have issued a buy recommendation and one has issued a strong buy recommendation on the company. The average 1-year price target among brokers that have issued ratings on the stock in the last year is $73.91.

MO has been the subject of several recent analyst reports. Vetr upgraded Altria from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $69.29 target price for the company in a research report on Thursday, December 28th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Altria from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 2nd. Wells Fargo boosted their target price on Altria from $80.00 to $85.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 4th. Jefferies Group upgraded Altria 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. Finally, Piper Jaffray boosted their target price on Altria from $76.00 to $81.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, February 2nd.

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

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Green Square Capital LLC grew its holdings in Altria by 43.8% in the fourth quarter. Green Square Capital LLC now owns 114,439 shares of the company’s stock worth $8,247,000 after purchasing an additional 34,883 shares during the last quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. grew its holdings in Altria by 12.9% in the fourth quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 434,555 shares of the company’s stock worth $31,032,000 after purchasing an additional 49,558 shares during the last quarter. Certified Advisory Corp purchased a new position in Altria in the fourth quarter worth $2,789,000. D.B. Root & Company LLC purchased a new position in Altria in the fourth quarter worth $1,418,000. Finally, Colonial Trust Advisors grew its holdings in Altria by 14.8% in the fourth quarter. Colonial Trust Advisors now owns 17,942 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,281,000 after purchasing an additional 2,313 shares during the last quarter. 62.53% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Shares of NYSE:MO traded up $0.54 during trading hours on Wednesday, hitting $55.84. 13,954,018 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 8,482,443. Altria has a 1 year low of $54.83 and a 1 year high of $77.79. The firm has a market capitalization of $107,508.40, a PE ratio of 16.52, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.64 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 (NYSE:MO) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $0.91 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.11. Altria had a return on equity of 50.01% and a net margin of 39.97%. The business had revenue of $4.71 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.80 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.68 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down .4% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts expect that Altria will post 4.01 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Altria announced that its board has authorized a stock buyback plan on Thursday, February 1st that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, April 10th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 15th were paid a dividend of $0.70 per share. This represents a $2.80 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 5.01%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, March 14th. This is an increase from Altria’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.66. Altria’s payout ratio is currently 82.84%.

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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.

Analyst Recommendations for Altria (NYSE:MO)

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