Altria Group (NYSE:MO) was down 1.7% on Wednesday . The company traded as low as $66.12 and last traded at $66.17, with a volume of 2,708,627 shares traded. The stock had previously closed at $67.34.

A number of equities research analysts recently weighed in on MO shares. Vetr upgraded Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $65.23 price objective for the company in a research note on Wednesday, April 13th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. restated a “hold” rating and set a $63.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Thursday, April 14th. Argus upgraded Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $62.93 to $68.00 in a research note on Monday, May 9th. 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, Berenberg Bank started coverage on Altria Group in a research note on Tuesday, June 14th. They set a “buy” rating and a $74.00 price objective for the company. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $68.62.

The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $68.01 and a 200 day moving average price of $63.66. The firm has a market cap of $129.96 billion and a P/E ratio of 23.09.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.81 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.01. The business earned $6.52 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.01 billion. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.74 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Altria Group will post $3.07 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, July 11th. Investors of record on Wednesday, June 15th were issued a $0.565 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Monday, June 13th. This represents a $2.26 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.39%.

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

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Columbia Asset Management increased its stake in Altria Group by 9.1% in the fourth quarter. Columbia Asset Management now owns 18,016 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,048,000 after buying an additional 1,499 shares during the last quarter. Burney Co. increased its stake in Altria Group by 6.6% in the fourth quarter. Burney Co. now owns 17,989 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,048,000 after buying an additional 1,108 shares during the last quarter. Carleon Capital Partners LLC purchased a new stake in Altria Group during the fourth quarter worth about $1,054,000. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. increased its stake in Altria Group by 0.9% in the fourth quarter. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 18,469 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,075,000 after buying an additional 156 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Philadelphia Trust Co. increased its stake in Altria Group by 6.4% in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia Trust Co. now owns 20,072 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,156,000 after buying an additional 1,210 shares during 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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