Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Company LTD lessened its stake in Altria Group (NYSE:MO) by 16.3% in the second quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 424,478 shares of the company’s stock after selling 82,404 shares during the quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Company LTD’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $31,610,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. increased its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 133.3% in the 1st quarter. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. now owns 1,400 shares of the company’s stock valued at $100,000 after purchasing an additional 800 shares in the last quarter. Perigon Wealth Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 4.7% in the 1st quarter. Perigon Wealth Management LLC now owns 1,641 shares of the company’s stock valued at $118,000 after purchasing an additional 74 shares in the last quarter. Proficio Capital Partners LLC increased its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 97.4% in the 1st quarter. Proficio Capital Partners LLC now owns 1,664 shares of the company’s stock valued at $121,000 after purchasing an additional 821 shares in the last quarter. Advantage Investment Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 1.9% in the 1st quarter. Advantage Investment Management LLC now owns 1,752 shares of the company’s stock valued at $125,000 after purchasing an additional 32 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Feltz Wealth PLAN Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Altria Group in the 1st quarter valued at about $134,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 61.89% of the company’s stock.

In other Altria Group news, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total transaction of $994,959.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 701,074 shares in the company, valued at approximately $45,590,842.22. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. 0.11% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

MO has been the subject of a number of research analyst reports. Vetr downgraded shares of Altria Group from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $80.18 price target for the company. in a report on Monday, May 22nd. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, May 23rd. Piper Jaffray Companies assumed coverage on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Wednesday, May 24th. They issued an “overweight” rating and a $76.00 price objective on the stock. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a “sell” rating and issued a $62.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Friday, May 26th. Finally, BidaskClub raised shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 21st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $72.07.

Shares of Altria Group (NYSE MO) opened at 62.39 on Friday. Altria Group has a 1-year low of $60.01 and a 1-year high of $77.79. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $64.15 and its 200 day moving average is $71.24. The firm has a market capitalization of $120.29 billion, a PE ratio of 8.23 and a beta of 0.63.

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

Altria Group declared that its board has authorized a stock buyback plan on Thursday, July 27th that allows the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to reacquire up to 0.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 10th. Shareholders 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%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. This is an increase from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. Altria Group’s payout ratio is presently 34.83%.

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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.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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