Altria Group (NYSE:MO) was upgraded by equities research analysts at Vetr from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report issued on Wednesday. The brokerage presently has a $69.00 target price on the stock. Vetr‘s price objective points to a potential upside of 12.71% from the company’s previous close.

A number of other equities research analysts have also weighed in on the company. Cowen and Company restated a “hold” rating on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Sunday, September 10th. BidaskClub lowered Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Friday, August 25th. Jefferies Group LLC set a $67.00 price objective on Altria Group and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 24th. UBS AG restated a “hold” rating on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Tuesday, August 8th. Finally, Berenberg Bank set a $72.00 price objective on Altria Group and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Sunday, August 6th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating, six have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $72.07.

Altria Group (NYSE MO) traded down 1.62% during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $61.22. The company had a trading volume of 7,026,193 shares. The firm has a market capitalization of $118.03 billion, a PE ratio of 8.07 and a beta of 0.63. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $63.95 and its 200 day moving average price is $70.99. Altria Group has a 12 month low of $60.01 and a 12 month high of $77.79.

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

Altria Group announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase program on Thursday, July 27th that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to reacquire up to 0.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are generally an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

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In related news, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total value of $994,959.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 701,074 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $45,590,842.22. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. lifted 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 worth $100,000 after purchasing an additional 800 shares during the last quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC increased its position in Altria Group by 65.7% in the 2nd quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,405 shares of the company’s stock valued at $105,000 after acquiring an additional 557 shares during the period. CKW Financial Group acquired a new stake in Altria Group in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $109,000. Balentine LLC increased its position in Altria Group by 32.4% in the 2nd quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 1,460 shares of the company’s stock valued at $109,000 after acquiring an additional 357 shares during the period. Finally, Perigon Wealth Management LLC increased its position in 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 acquiring an additional 74 shares during the period. 61.85% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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