Gradient Investments LLC cut its stake in Altria Group (NYSE:MO) by 9.1% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 2,284 shares of the company’s stock after selling 229 shares during the period. Gradient Investments LLC’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $170,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. increased 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 in the last quarter. Perigon Wealth Management LLC increased 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 in the last quarter. Proficio Capital Partners LLC increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 97.4% in the first quarter. Proficio Capital Partners LLC now owns 1,664 shares of the company’s stock valued at $121,000 after buying an additional 821 shares in the last quarter. Advantage Investment Management LLC increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 1.9% in the first quarter. Advantage Investment Management LLC now owns 1,752 shares of the company’s stock valued at $125,000 after buying an additional 32 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Feltz Wealth PLAN Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Altria Group during the first quarter valued at $134,000. 62.47% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) traded down 0.31% during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $65.11. 2,310,352 shares of the stock traded hands. Altria Group has a 12 month low of $60.01 and a 12 month high of $77.79. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $72.04 and a 200 day moving average of $72.83. The company has a market cap of $125.53 billion, a P/E ratio of 8.59 and a beta of 0.61.

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 the consensus estimate of $0.86 by $0.01. Altria Group had a return on equity of 59.50% and a net margin of 56.98%. The business had revenue of $4.37 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.02 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.81 earnings per share. Altria Group’s quarterly revenue was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts anticipate that Altria Group will post $3.26 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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

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Several brokerages recently weighed in on MO. BidaskClub raised shares of Altria Group from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. Berenberg Bank set a $72.00 price target on shares of Altria Group and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Sunday. UBS AG decreased their price target on shares of Altria Group from $78.00 to $72.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Vetr upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $79.51 price target on the stock in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 1st. One equities research 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’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $72.66.

In related news, Director George Munoz sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred 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 filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 0.15% of the stock is owned by corporate 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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