Investors sold shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) on strength during trading on Thursday. $74.94 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $132.26 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $57.32 million out of the stock. Of all equities tracked, Altria Group had the 0th highest net out-flow for the day. Altria Group traded up $0.43 for the day and closed at $62.28

MO has been the subject of several analyst reports. BidaskClub lowered shares of Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report on Friday, August 25th. Wells Fargo & Company restated an “outperform” rating and set a $80.00 price target on shares of Altria Group in a research report on Monday, July 31st. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 23rd. Royal Bank Of Canada restated a “sell” rating and set a $62.00 price target on shares of Altria Group in a research report on Friday, May 26th. Finally, Vetr upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $80.18 price target for the company in a research report on Monday, June 5th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $72.07.

The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $64.15 and a 200-day moving average price of $71.24. The stock has a market capitalization of $120.29 billion, a P/E ratio of 8.23 and a beta of 0.63.

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

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 10th. Investors of record on Friday, September 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.66 per share. This represents a $2.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.23%. This is an increase from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio is presently 34.83%.

Altria Group declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, July 27th that permits the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to purchase up to 0.7% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total transaction of $994,959.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 701,074 shares in the company, valued at approximately $45,590,842.22. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Frontier Investment Mgmt Co. boosted its position in Altria Group by 25.8% in the 2nd quarter. Frontier Investment Mgmt Co. now owns 9,555 shares of the company’s stock valued at $712,000 after buying an additional 1,959 shares during the period. W. E. Donoghue & Co. LLC purchased a new stake in Altria Group in the 2nd quarter valued at about $15,713,000. Intl Fcstone Inc. boosted its position in Altria Group by 268.1% in the 2nd quarter. Intl Fcstone Inc. now owns 40,148 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,990,000 after buying an additional 29,240 shares during the period. Griffin Asset Management Inc. purchased a new stake in Altria Group in the 2nd quarter valued at about $977,000. Finally, Aldebaran Financial Inc. boosted its position in Altria Group by 32.5% in the 2nd quarter. Aldebaran Financial Inc. now owns 4,075 shares of the company’s stock valued at $303,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares during the period. 61.89% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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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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