Cowen and Company set a $78.00 price target on Altria Group (NYSE:MO) in a research note issued to investors on Friday. The firm currently has a hold rating on the stock.

Other equities research analysts have also issued reports about the company. Piper Jaffray Companies assumed coverage on Altria Group in a research note on Wednesday, May 24th. They set an overweight rating and a $76.00 price target for the company. Zacks Investment Research lowered Altria Group from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 23rd. BidaskClub lowered Altria Group from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $70.00 target price (down from $71.00) on shares of Altria Group in a research report on Monday, July 17th. Finally, Vetr raised Altria Group from a sell rating to a buy rating and set a $80.18 target price for the company in a research report on Monday, June 5th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating, seven have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $72.97.

Altria Group (MO) opened at 64.97 on Friday. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $74.21 and its 200-day moving average price is $73.06. The company has a market cap of $125.26 billion, a P/E ratio of 8.57 and a beta of 0.64. Altria Group has a one year low of $60.01 and a one year high of $77.79.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last issued its quarterly earnings results 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 return on equity of 59.50% and a net margin of 56.98%. The business had revenue of $4.37 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.02 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.81 earnings per share. Altria Group’s revenue was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that Altria Group will post $3.28 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, July 10th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, June 15th were given a $0.61 dividend. This represents a $2.44 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.76%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, June 13th. Altria Group’s payout ratio is 32.19%.

Altria Group declared that its board has approved a stock buyback program on Thursday, July 27th that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to repurchase up to 0.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, Director Dinyar S. Devitre sold 4,285 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, May 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.72, for a total value of $303,035.20. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 112,457 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,952,959.04. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director George Munoz sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.35, for a total value of $361,750.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.15% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. raised its position in 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 buying an additional 800 shares during the last quarter. CKW Financial Group bought a new position in Altria Group during the second quarter valued at approximately $109,000. Perigon Wealth Management LLC raised its position in 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 buying an additional 74 shares during the last quarter. Proficio Capital Partners LLC raised its position in Altria Group by 97.4% in the first quarter. Proficio Capital Partners LLC now owns 1,664 shares of the company’s stock valued at $121,000 after buying an additional 821 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Advantage Investment Management LLC bought a new position in Altria Group during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $116,000. 61.97% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Altria Group Company Profile

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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