Wells Fargo & Company Reaffirms “Outperform” Rating for Altria Group (MO)

Altria Group (NYSE:MO)‘s stock had its “outperform” rating restated by equities research analysts at Wells Fargo & Company in a research report issued on Monday, July 31st. They presently have a $80.00 target price on the stock. Wells Fargo & Company’s price objective would suggest a potential upside of 25.61% from the company’s previous close.

Several other research firms also recently weighed in on MO. Vetr downgraded shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $80.38 price target for the company. in a research note on Monday, June 19th. BidaskClub raised shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 21st. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a “sell” rating and issued a $62.00 price target on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Friday, May 26th. Cowen and Company set a $78.00 price target on shares of Altria Group and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, July 28th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $76.00 price target on shares of Altria Group and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating, seven have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $72.66.

Altria Group (MO) traded down 0.95% on Monday, reaching $63.69. 10,210,604 shares of the company traded hands. The company has a market capitalization of $122.79 billion, a PE ratio of 8.40 and a beta of 0.61. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $69.77 and a 200 day moving average of $72.51. Altria Group has a 52-week low of $60.01 and a 52-week high of $77.79.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The company reported $0.85 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.86 by $0.01. Altria Group had a return on equity of 59.50% and a net margin of 56.98%. The firm 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 earned $0.81 EPS. Altria Group’s quarterly revenue was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts forecast that Altria Group will post $3.26 EPS for the current year.

Altria Group announced that its board has authorized a share buyback program on Thursday, July 27th that permits the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to reacquire up to 0.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

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In other news, Director George Munoz sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.35, for a total value of $361,750.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total transaction of $994,959.00. Following 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 disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.15% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. raised its position in shares of 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 period. Solaris Asset Management LLC raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 65.7% in the second quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,405 shares of the company’s stock valued at $105,000 after buying an additional 557 shares during the period. CKW Financial Group bought a new position in shares of Altria Group during the second quarter valued at approximately $109,000. Balentine LLC raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 32.4% in the second quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 1,460 shares of the company’s stock valued at $109,000 after buying an additional 357 shares during the period. Finally, Perigon Wealth Management LLC raised its position in shares of 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. 62.39% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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