BidaskClub Upgrades Altria Group (NYSE:MO) to “Sell”

BidaskClub upgraded shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a research report released on Monday, July 31st.

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. Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a sell rating and set a $62.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group in a report on Friday, May 26th. Cowen and Company set a $78.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Friday, July 28th. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $76.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Thursday, July 27th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC restated a hold rating and set a $70.00 price target (down from $71.00) on shares of Altria Group in a report on Monday, July 17th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating, seven have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Altria Group presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $72.66.

Shares of Altria Group (NYSE MO) traded down 0.95% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $63.69. 10,210,604 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The company has a market cap of $122.79 billion, a PE ratio of 8.40 and a beta of 0.61. The firm 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 posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The company reported $0.85 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the 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 company had revenue of $4.37 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.02 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.81 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Altria Group will post $3.26 EPS for the current year.

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

In other Altria Group news, Director George Munoz sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.35, for a total transaction of $361,750.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, 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 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. 0.15% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MO. Hartford Financial Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 25.4% in the first quarter. Hartford Financial Management Inc. now owns 4,542 shares of the company’s stock valued at $324,000 after buying an additional 920 shares during the last quarter. LGL Partners LLC raised its stake in Altria Group by 1.0% in the fourth quarter. LGL Partners LLC now owns 4,260 shares of the company’s stock worth $288,000 after buying an additional 42 shares in the last quarter. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. raised its stake in Altria Group by 2.5% in the first quarter. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 1,691,362 shares of the company’s stock worth $120,797,000 after buying an additional 40,895 shares in the last quarter. Washington Trust Bank increased its stake in shares of Altria Group by 495.6% in the first quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 105,680 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,548,000 after buying an additional 87,937 shares during the last quarter. Finally, West Oak Capital LLC increased its stake in shares of Altria Group by 3.7% in the first quarter. West Oak Capital LLC now owns 5,753 shares of the company’s stock worth $411,000 after buying an additional 203 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 62.39% of the company’s stock.

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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