Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL maintained its position in Altria Group (NYSE:MO) during the first quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The firm owned 681,600 shares of the company’s stock at the end of the first quarter. Altria Group accounts for approximately 0.6% of Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL’s portfolio, making the stock its 27th largest position. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $48,680,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors have also bought and sold shares of the company. Comprehensive Portfolio Management LLC acquired a new position in Altria Group during the fourth quarter worth approximately $568,000. Advantage Investment Management LLC acquired a new position in Altria Group during the fourth quarter worth approximately $116,000. Pacific Center for Financial Services acquired a new position in Altria Group during the fourth quarter worth approximately $285,000. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans boosted its position in Altria Group by 5.0% in the fourth quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 68,010 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,599,000 after buying an additional 3,260 shares during the period. Finally, LeJeune Puetz Investment Counsel LLC acquired a new position in Altria Group during the fourth quarter worth approximately $464,000. 61.97% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) opened at 65.52 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $126.32 billion, a PE ratio of 8.64 and a beta of 0.61. Altria Group has a 52 week low of $60.01 and a 52 week high of $77.79. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $73.93 and a 200 day moving average price of $73.05.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The company reported $0.85 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.86 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $4.37 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.02 billion. Altria Group had a return on equity of 59.50% and a net margin of 56.98%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.81 EPS. Equities analysts expect that Altria Group will post $3.26 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, July 10th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, June 15th were issued a $0.61 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, June 13th. This represents a $2.44 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.72%. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio is currently 32.19%.

Altria Group declared that its board has approved a stock buyback program on Thursday, July 27th that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to buy up to 0.7% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are typically an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

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A number of research firms have recently commented on MO. Vetr cut Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $80.38 price target for the company. in a report on Monday, June 19th. BidaskClub raised Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, June 21st. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a “sell” rating and issued a $62.00 target price on shares of Altria Group in a report on Friday, May 26th. Cowen and Company set a $78.00 target price on Altria Group and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, July 28th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $76.00 target price on Altria Group and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, July 27th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating, seven have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $72.91.

In other news, Director George Munoz sold 5,000 shares of Altria Group stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.35, for a total value of $361,750.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director Dinyar S. Devitre sold 4,285 shares of Altria Group stock in a transaction dated Monday, May 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.72, for a total value of $303,035.20. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 112,457 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,952,959.04. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.15% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

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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