Investors Sell Shares of Altria (MO) on Strength (MO)

Traders sold shares of Altria (NYSE:MO) on strength during trading hours on Thursday. $54.62 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $97.99 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $43.37 million out of the stock. Of all equities tracked, Altria had the 33rd highest net out-flow for the day. Altria traded up $1.30 for the day and closed at $57.29

MO has been the subject of several recent research reports. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Altria from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price target for the company in a research report on Monday, April 9th. Deutsche Bank initiated coverage on Altria in a research report on Monday, March 26th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $72.00 price target for the company. Jefferies Financial Group reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $84.00 price target on shares of Altria in a research report on Thursday, March 15th. Argus reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $79.00 price target (up from $66.13) on shares of Altria in a research report on Wednesday, March 14th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $75.00 price target on Altria and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, April 23rd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating, ten have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $72.08.

The company has a market cap of $106.18 billion, a PE ratio of 16.95, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.63 and a beta of 0.63. The company has a quick ratio of 0.34, a current ratio of 0.65 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.85.

Altria (NYSE:MO) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 26th. The company reported $0.95 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.93 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $4.67 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.63 billion. Altria had a return on equity of 49.92% and a net margin of 41.85%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 1.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.73 earnings per share. equities analysts anticipate that Altria will post 4 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, July 10th. Investors of record on Friday, June 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.70 per share. This represents a $2.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.89%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, June 14th. Altria’s dividend payout ratio is 82.84%.

Altria announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback plan on Thursday, May 17th that allows the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to buy up to 1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Altria news, Director Mark Newman acquired 5,345 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 30th. The stock was bought at an average price of $56.19 per share, with a total value of $300,335.55. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now owns 6,022 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $338,376.18. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. 0.11% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Greenline Partners LLC lifted its stake in Altria by 293.9% during the first quarter. Greenline Partners LLC now owns 24,046 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,499,000 after purchasing an additional 17,941 shares during the last quarter. Allianz Life Insurance Co of North America bought a new stake in Altria during the first quarter worth about $278,000. Rikoon Group LLC lifted its stake in Altria by 10.6% during the first quarter. Rikoon Group LLC now owns 11,355 shares of the company’s stock worth $694,000 after purchasing an additional 1,092 shares during the last quarter. Private Vista LLC bought a new stake in shares of Altria in the 1st quarter valued at about $360,000. Finally, PagnatoKarp Partners LLC bought a new stake in shares of Altria in the 1st quarter valued at about $525,000. 63.04% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Altria Company Profile

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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