Published On: Sun, Sep 18th, 2016

Altria Group (MO) Cut to Buy at Vetr Inc.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) was downgraded by stock analysts at Vetr from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Monday. They presently have a $75.77 target price on the stock. Vetr‘s target price would indicate a potential upside of 20.65% from the stock’s previous close.
A number of other equities analysts have also recently commented on MO. Zacks Investment Research raised Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $71.00 price target for the company in a report on Monday, April 4th. Bank of America Corp. reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $66.00 price target on shares of Altria Group in a report on Tuesday, May 17th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $69.00 price target (up previously from $64.00) on shares of Altria Group in a report on Friday, July 15th. Argus raised Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $62.93 to $68.00 in a report on Monday, May 9th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reissued a “buy” rating and set a $71.00 price target (up previously from $65.00) on shares of Altria Group in a report on Monday, June 27th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $69.41.
Shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) traded down 0.71% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $62.80. The stock had a trading volume of 7,103,268 shares. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $66.38 and a 200 day moving average price of $64.89. Altria Group has a 52 week low of $53.68 and a 52 week high of $70.15. The firm has a market cap of $122.71 billion, a PE ratio of 21.81 and a beta of 0.48.

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Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.81 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.01. The business earned $6.52 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.01 billion. Altria Group had a return on equity of 198.82% and a net margin of 22.05%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.74 EPS. Equities research analysts expect that Altria Group will post $3.05 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 11th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th will be given a $0.61 dividend. This represents a $2.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.89%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 13th. This is a positive change from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.57. Altria Group’s payout ratio is 84.72%.
In other news, SVP Charles N. Whitaker sold 11,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $66.53, for a total value of $731,830.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, SVP James E. Dillard III sold 9,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.68, for a total value of $600,120.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.15% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. First PREMIER Bank acquired a new position in shares of Altria Group during the second quarter worth about $103,000. First Personal Financial Services increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 66.3% in the second quarter. First Personal Financial Services now owns 1,603 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 639 shares in the last quarter. Tortoise Investment Management LLC increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 26.6% in the second quarter. Tortoise Investment Management LLC now owns 1,654 shares of the company’s stock worth $114,000 after buying an additional 348 shares in the last quarter. CapWealth Advisors LLC increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 6.3% in the first quarter. CapWealth Advisors LLC now owns 2,073 shares of the company’s stock worth $130,000 after buying an additional 123 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Zions Bancorporation increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 48.4% in the second quarter. Zions Bancorporation now owns 1,971 shares of the company’s stock worth $137,000 after buying an additional 643 shares in the last quarter. 61.64% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
Altria Group Company Profile
Altria Group, Inc is a holding company. 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 large cigars and pipe tobacco, and UST LLC (UST), which through its subsidiaries, including U.S.

To view Vetr’s full report, visit Vetr’s official website.

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