Altria Group (NYSE:MO) Rating Increased to Buy at Goldman Sachs Group

Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Thursday, BenzingaRatingsTable reports. Goldman Sachs Group currently has $59.00 price target on the stock.

A number of other brokerages also recently issued reports on MO. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Wix.Com from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Monday, April 8th. ValuEngine raised shares of USINAS SIDERURG/S from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, May 29th. Citigroup set a $221.00 price target on shares of 3M and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Friday, April 26th. Bank of America raised their price target on shares of Altria Group from $56.00 to $66.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, March 20th. Finally, TheStreet downgraded shares of 22nd Century Group from a c- rating to a d+ rating in a report on Friday, March 29th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $60.91.

NYSE:MO opened at $49.50 on Thursday. The company has a market cap of $92.61 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.41, a P/E/G ratio of 1.55 and a beta of 0.39. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.92, a quick ratio of 0.39 and a current ratio of 0.62. Altria Group has a fifty-two week low of $42.40 and a fifty-two week high of $66.04. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $49.76.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 25th. The company reported $0.90 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.92 by ($0.02). The firm had revenue of $4.39 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.60 billion. Altria Group had a net margin of 24.87% and a return on equity of 49.42%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 6.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.95 earnings per share. Sell-side analysts anticipate that Altria Group will post 4.17 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, July 10th. Investors of record on Friday, June 14th were issued a $0.80 dividend. This represents a $3.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 6.46%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, June 13th. Altria Group’s payout ratio is 80.20%.

In related news, SVP Jody L. Begley sold 3,250 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.38, for a total value of $173,485.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.48, for a total transaction of $104,960.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Intellectus Partners LLC raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 3.7% during the fourth quarter. Intellectus Partners LLC now owns 5,977 shares of the company’s stock valued at $300,000 after buying an additional 211 shares during the last quarter. Abner Herrman & Brock LLC raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 2.3% during the first quarter. Abner Herrman & Brock LLC now owns 9,426 shares of the company’s stock valued at $541,000 after buying an additional 213 shares during the last quarter. Riverview Trust Co raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 7.5% during the first quarter. Riverview Trust Co now owns 3,084 shares of the company’s stock valued at $177,000 after buying an additional 214 shares during the last quarter. Wiley BROS. Aintree Capital LLC raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 3.5% during the first quarter. Wiley BROS. Aintree Capital LLC now owns 6,535 shares of the company’s stock valued at $375,000 after buying an additional 222 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Livingston Group Asset Management CO operating as Southport Capital Management raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 4.7% during the first quarter. Livingston Group Asset Management CO operating as Southport Capital Management now owns 5,124 shares of the company’s stock valued at $294,000 after buying an additional 229 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 64.47% of the company’s stock.

About Altria Group

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.

Further Reading: Relative Strength Index

Analyst Recommendations for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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