Altria Group (NYSE:MO) had its price objective cut by Credit Agricole SA from $69.00 to $68.00 in a report issued on Thursday. The firm presently has an “outperform” rating on the stock. Credit Agricole SA’s target price suggests a potential upside of 8.28% from the company’s current price.

Several other analysts also recently weighed in on MO. Vetr raised Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $72.13 target price for the company in a report on Wednesday, May 25th. Argus set a $73.00 price target on Altria Group and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, August 1st. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $78.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Monday, July 11th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus restated a “buy” rating and issued a $71.00 price target (up previously from $65.00) on shares of Altria Group in a research report on Monday, June 27th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $69.41.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) opened at 62.80 on Thursday. Altria Group has a 52-week low of $53.68 and a 52-week high of $70.15. The stock has a market cap of $122.71 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.81 and a beta of 0.48. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $66.38 and a 200 day moving average price of $64.89.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.81 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.01. Altria Group had a return on equity of 198.82% and a net margin of 22.05%. The business earned $6.52 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.01 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.74 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 1.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Altria Group will post $3.05 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 11th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th will be issued a $0.61 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $2.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.89%. This is a boost from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.57. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio is currently 84.72%.

In related news, SVP James E. Dillard III sold 9,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $66.68, for a total value of $600,120.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Charles N. Whitaker sold 11,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.53, for a total value of $731,830.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.15% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. raised its stake in Altria Group by 1.0% in the second quarter. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 1,687,561 shares of the company’s stock worth $116,374,000 after buying an additional 17,417 shares during the last quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. raised its stake in Altria Group by 1.9% in the first quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 676,612 shares of the company’s stock worth $42,396,000 after buying an additional 12,726 shares during the last quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC raised its stake in Altria Group by 21.9% in the second quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 2,517,741 shares of the company’s stock worth $173,623,000 after buying an additional 452,444 shares during the last quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. raised its stake in Altria Group by 0.4% in the first quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. now owns 525,540 shares of the company’s stock worth $32,963,000 after buying an additional 1,998 shares during the last quarter. Finally, State of Alaska Department of Revenue raised its stake in Altria Group by 4.5% in the second quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 268,676 shares of the company’s stock worth $18,527,000 after buying an additional 11,624 shares during the last quarter. 61.64% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Altria Group

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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MO

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