Shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) fell 1% on Tuesday . The company traded as low as $69.10 and last traded at $69.19, with a volume of 4,463,299 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $69.87.

A number of research firms have weighed in on MO. Vetr upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $72.13 price objective for the company in a research note on Wednesday, May 25th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $71.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Monday, April 4th. Wells Fargo & Co. restated a “buy” rating on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Monday, March 28th. Bank of America Corp. restated a “neutral” rating and set a $66.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Tuesday, May 17th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus restated a “buy” rating and set a $71.00 price objective (up from $65.00) on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Monday, June 27th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $67.65.

The firm has a market cap of $134.71 billion and a P/E ratio of 24.85. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $66.42 and a 200-day moving average price of $62.56.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 28th. The company reported $0.72 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.68 by $0.04. The firm earned $3.92 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.41 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.63 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.3% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that Altria Group will post $3.06 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, July 11th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, June 15th were issued a $0.565 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, June 13th. This represents a $2.26 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.23%.

In related news, Director Nabil Y. Sakkab purchased 4,000 shares of Altria Group stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 20th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $63.20 per share, for a total transaction of $252,800.00. Following the acquisition, the director now directly owns 31,630 shares in the company, valued at $1,999,016. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, CEO Brian W. Quigley sold 3,000 shares of Altria Group stock in a transaction on Monday, May 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.66, for a total value of $190,980.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 23,246 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,479,840.36. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other hedge funds and institutional investors recently bought and sold shares of the company. Jennison Associates raised its position in Altria Group by 0.3% in the third quarter. Jennison Associates now owns 47,494 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,584,000 after buying an additional 129 shares in the last quarter. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. raised its position in Altria Group by 0.9% in the fourth quarter. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 18,469 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,075,000 after buying an additional 156 shares in the last quarter. Legacy Capital Partners Inc. raised its position in Altria Group by 0.6% in the fourth quarter. Legacy Capital Partners Inc. now owns 35,180 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,048,000 after buying an additional 200 shares in the last quarter. West Chester Capital Advisors Inc. raised its position in Altria Group by 0.8% in the fourth quarter. West Chester Capital Advisors Inc. now owns 29,508 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,718,000 after buying an additional 232 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Wetherby Asset Management Inc. raised its position in Altria Group by 0.8% in the fourth quarter. Wetherby Asset Management Inc. now owns 39,297 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,287,000 after buying an additional 308 shares in the last quarter.

Altria Group, Inc is a holding company. 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 large cigars and pipe tobacco, and UST LLC (UST), which through its subsidiaries, including U.S.

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