Cowen and Company Reaffirms “Hold” Rating for Altria Group (MO)

Cowen and Company reissued their hold rating on shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) in a research note issued to investors on Sunday.

MO has been the topic of several other reports. Vetr cut shares of Altria Group from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating and set a $69.00 price target on the stock. in a report on Wednesday, September 6th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Altria Group from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. Royal Bank Of Canada upgraded shares of Altria Group from an underperform rating to a sector perform rating and set a $62.00 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, July 31st. Wells Fargo & Company restated an outperform rating and set a $80.00 price target on shares of Altria Group in a report on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC set a $67.00 price target on shares of Altria Group and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Thursday, August 24th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $71.81.

Shares of Altria Group (MO) opened at 62.50 on Friday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $65.32 and a 200-day moving average of $71.55. Altria Group has a one year low of $60.01 and a one year high of $77.79. The company has a market capitalization of $120.50 billion, a PE ratio of 8.24 and a beta of 0.63.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The company reported $0.85 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.86 by ($0.01). Altria Group had a return on equity of 59.50% and a net margin of 56.98%. The firm had revenue of $4.37 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.02 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.81 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts forecast that Altria Group will post $3.26 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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Altria Group announced that its board has initiated a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, July 27th that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to buy up to 0.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 10th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be given a $0.66 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $2.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.22%. This is a positive change from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. Altria Group’s payout ratio is 32.19%.

In other news, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total value of $994,959.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 701,074 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $45,590,842.22. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 133.3% in the first quarter. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. now owns 1,400 shares of the company’s stock valued at $100,000 after purchasing an additional 800 shares during the period. Solaris Asset Management LLC raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 65.7% in the second quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,405 shares of the company’s stock valued at $105,000 after purchasing an additional 557 shares during the period. CKW Financial Group bought a new stake in shares of Altria Group in the second quarter valued at approximately $109,000. Balentine LLC raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 32.4% in the second quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 1,460 shares of the company’s stock valued at $109,000 after purchasing an additional 357 shares during the period. Finally, Perigon Wealth Management LLC raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 4.7% in the first quarter. Perigon Wealth Management LLC now owns 1,641 shares of the company’s stock valued at $118,000 after purchasing an additional 74 shares during the period. 61.89% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Altria Group

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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