Altria Group (NYSE:MO) – Stock analysts at Credit Agricole SA lowered their FY2016 earnings estimates for Altria Group in a report issued on Wednesday. Credit Agricole SA analyst M. Lavery now anticipates that the firm will post earnings per share of $3.00 for the year, down from their prior forecast of $3.07. Credit Agricole SA currently has a “Outperform” rating and a $68.00 target price on the stock. Credit Agricole SA also issued estimates for Altria Group’s FY2017 earnings at $3.28 EPS and FY2018 earnings at $3.58 EPS.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.81 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates 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 analyst estimates of $5.01 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.74 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.4% compared to the same quarter last year.

A number of other research firms also recently weighed in on MO. Zacks Investment Research raised Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $78.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Monday, July 11th. Vetr raised Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $77.35 target price on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, July 20th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $69.00 target price (up from $64.00) on shares of Altria Group in a research report on Friday, July 15th. Argus set a $73.00 target price on Altria Group and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, August 1st. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reissued a “buy” rating and set a $71.00 target price (up 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 assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $69.41.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) opened at 62.80 on Monday. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $66.38 and its 200-day moving average price is $64.89. The company has a market capitalization of $122.71 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.81 and a beta of 0.48. Altria Group has a 52 week low of $53.68 and a 52 week high of $70.15.

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

In related news, SVP Charles N. Whitaker sold 11,000 shares of the business’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 transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, SVP James E. Dillard III sold 9,000 shares of the business’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 transaction of $600,120.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.15% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of MO. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in Altria Group by 2.8% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 125,294,855 shares of the company’s stock worth $8,640,334,000 after buying an additional 3,366,581 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp raised its stake in Altria Group by 1.9% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 72,465,487 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,540,692,000 after buying an additional 1,328,172 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. raised its stake in Altria Group by 1.6% in the first quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 52,621,380 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,297,256,000 after buying an additional 819,082 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors raised its stake in Altria Group by 4.0% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 32,577,674 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,246,556,000 after buying an additional 1,259,777 shares in the last quarter. Finally, FMR LLC raised its stake in Altria Group by 10.7% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 25,539,336 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,761,192,000 after buying an additional 2,464,718 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 61.64% of the company’s stock.

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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MO

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