Herndon Capital Management LLC cut its stake in Altria Group (NYSE:MO) by 6.7% in the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 171,414 shares of the company’s stock after selling 12,218 shares during the quarter. Herndon Capital Management LLC’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $12,765,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in MO. Advisor Partners LLC grew its position in shares of Altria Group by 0.8% in the first quarter. Advisor Partners LLC now owns 64,395 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,599,000 after purchasing an additional 502 shares in the last quarter. Wright Investors Service Inc. grew its position in Altria Group by 27.1% during the first quarter. Wright Investors Service Inc. now owns 36,758 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,625,000 after buying an additional 7,840 shares in the last quarter. SPC Financial Inc. grew its position in Altria Group by 1.8% during the first quarter. SPC Financial Inc. now owns 11,150 shares of the company’s stock worth $796,000 after buying an additional 200 shares in the last quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC purchased a new position in Altria Group during the first quarter worth about $3,960,000. Finally, Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. grew its position in Altria Group by 2.9% during the first quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. now owns 380,317 shares of the company’s stock worth $27,162,000 after buying an additional 10,544 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 61.92% of the company’s stock.

Several equities analysts recently commented on the company. Vetr upgraded Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $71.89 target price for the company in a research report on Monday. Cowen and Company restated a “hold” rating and set a $74.00 target price on shares of Altria Group in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. Jefferies Group LLC restated 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. BidaskClub cut Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. Finally, Berenberg Bank restated a “hold” rating on shares of Altria Group in a research report on Tuesday, October 31st. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating, eight have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $72.06.

In other news, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated 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 of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $45,590,842.22. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Dinyar S. Devitre sold 32,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.22, for a total value of $1,959,040.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) opened at $63.91 on Friday. Altria Group has a 52 week low of $60.01 and a 52 week high of $77.79. The company has a quick ratio of 0.48, a current ratio of 0.77 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.14. The firm has a market capitalization of $121,952.42, a PE ratio of 20.22, a PEG ratio of 2.61 and a beta of 0.60.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The company reported $0.90 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.87 by $0.03. Altria Group had a return on equity of 49.43% and a net margin of 60.37%. The company had revenue of $5.10 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.22 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.82 EPS. Altria Group’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.8% on a year-over-year basis. analysts expect that Altria Group will post 3.28 earnings per share for the current year.

Altria Group announced that its board has authorized a share repurchase plan on Thursday, July 27th that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to buy up to 0.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are generally an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, October 10th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 15th were paid a $0.66 dividend. This represents a $2.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.13%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 14th. This is a positive change from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. Altria Group’s payout ratio is 33.04%.

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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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