Bristlecone Advisors LLC decreased its stake in Altria Group (NYSE:MO) by 4.7% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The firm owned 3,069 shares of the company’s stock after selling 150 shares during the period. Bristlecone Advisors LLC’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $219,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also bought and sold shares of the company. Acropolis Investment Management LLC increased its position in Altria Group by 0.3% in the first quarter. Acropolis Investment Management LLC now owns 1,939 shares of the company’s stock valued at $138,000 after buying an additional 5 shares during the period. Mascoma Wealth Management LLC increased its position in Altria Group by 0.3% in the first quarter. Mascoma Wealth Management LLC now owns 2,701 shares of the company’s stock valued at $193,000 after buying an additional 8 shares during the period. HM Capital Management LLC increased its position in Altria Group by 0.3% in the first quarter. HM Capital Management LLC now owns 3,435 shares of the company’s stock valued at $245,000 after buying an additional 9 shares during the period. Strategic Financial Group LLC increased its position in Altria Group by 0.4% in the first quarter. Strategic Financial Group LLC now owns 3,293 shares of the company’s stock valued at $235,000 after buying an additional 14 shares during the period. Finally, Lafayette Investments Inc. increased its position in Altria Group by 0.7% in the first quarter. Lafayette Investments Inc. now owns 3,863 shares of the company’s stock valued at $276,000 after buying an additional 25 shares during the period. 62.39% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of Altria Group (MO) traded down 0.18% on Wednesday, hitting $65.18. 1,178,308 shares of the company traded hands. The stock has a market capitalization of $125.67 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.60 and a beta of 0.61. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $70.68 and its 200-day moving average price is $72.67. Altria Group has a 1-year low of $60.01 and a 1-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 analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.86 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $4.37 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.02 billion. Altria Group had a return on equity of 59.50% and a net margin of 56.98%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 3.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.81 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts expect that Altria Group will post $3.26 earnings per share for the current year.

Altria Group announced that its board has authorized a share repurchase program on Thursday, July 27th that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to buy up to 0.7% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

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Several research analysts have commented on the stock. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 12th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 11th. Cowen and Company reissued a “hold” rating and set a $74.00 price target on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Tuesday, July 11th. Piper Jaffray Companies assumed coverage on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Wednesday, May 24th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $76.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “hold” rating and set a $70.00 price target (down from $71.00) on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Monday, July 17th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating, seven have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Altria Group presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $72.66.

In other Altria Group news, Director George Munoz sold 5,000 shares of the 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 transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total value of $994,959.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 701,074 shares in the company, valued at approximately $45,590,842.22. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.15% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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