Equities analysts predict that Altria Group (NYSE:MO) will announce sales of $5.22 billion for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks reports. Two analysts have issued estimates for Altria Group’s earnings. The lowest sales estimate is $5.19 billion and the highest is $5.26 billion. Altria Group posted sales of $5.19 billion during the same quarter last year, which would indicate a positive year over year growth rate of 0.6%. The business is scheduled to issue its next earnings report on Thursday, October 26th.

On average, analysts expect that Altria Group will report full-year sales of $5.22 billion for the current year, with estimates ranging from $19.64 billion to $19.79 billion. For the next year, analysts forecast that the company will post sales of $20.08 billion per share, with estimates ranging from $19.89 billion to $20.34 billion. Zacks’ sales calculations are an average based on a survey of sell-side analysts that that provide coverage for Altria Group.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The company reported $0.85 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.86 by $0.01. Altria Group had a net margin of 56.98% and a return on equity of 59.50%. The business had revenue of $4.37 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.02 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.81 earnings per share. Altria Group’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis.

MO has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. BidaskClub upgraded Altria Group from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. Jefferies Group LLC set a $67.00 target price on Altria Group and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, August 24th. Royal Bank Of Canada upgraded Altria Group from an “underperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating and set a $62.00 target price on the stock in a report on Monday, July 31st. Vetr upgraded Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $79.51 target price on the stock in a report on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Zacks Investment Research cut Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 11th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating, seven have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $72.47.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) traded up 0.22% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $63.54. 6,110,512 shares of the stock were exchanged. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $67.32 and a 200 day moving average price of $72.00. Altria Group has a 1-year low of $60.01 and a 1-year high of $77.79. The company has a market capitalization of $122.51 billion, a PE ratio of 8.38 and a beta of 0.61.

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

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 10th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.66 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. This is a boost from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. This represents a $2.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.15%. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 32.19%.

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

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Janus Henderson Group PLC raised its stake in shares of Altria Group by 21,647.0% in the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 19,831,702 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,476,867,000 after buying an additional 19,740,509 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in shares of Altria Group by 7.6% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 127,525,988 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,496,859,000 after buying an additional 8,969,677 shares in the last quarter. Capital World Investors raised its stake in shares of Altria Group by 27.6% in the second quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 41,157,755 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,065,018,000 after buying an additional 8,914,575 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Altria Group by 2.0% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 136,023,361 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,129,659,000 after buying an additional 2,690,270 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Swiss National Bank raised its stake in shares of Altria Group by 25.1% in the first quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 7,486,394 shares of the company’s stock valued at $534,678,000 after buying an additional 1,501,400 shares in the last quarter. 61.89% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other 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.

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Earnings History and Estimates for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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