Daiwa Securities Group Inc. reduced its position in Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) by 38.8% in the fourth quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 98,865 shares of the company’s stock after selling 62,732 shares during the period. Daiwa Securities Group Inc.’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $7,060,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in Altria Group by 2.0% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 136,023,361 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,129,659,000 after buying an additional 2,690,270 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in Altria Group by 7.6% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 127,525,988 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,496,859,000 after buying an additional 8,969,677 shares during the last quarter. Capital World Investors raised its stake in Altria Group by 27.6% during the 2nd quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 41,157,755 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,065,018,000 after buying an additional 8,914,575 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its stake in Altria Group by 7.6% during the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 21,970,538 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,393,372,000 after buying an additional 1,561,120 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its stake in Altria Group by 5.3% during the 2nd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 20,802,163 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,550,057,000 after buying an additional 1,040,839 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 62.77% of the company’s stock.

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MO has been the subject of a number of research reports. Jefferies Group set a $72.00 target price on shares of Altria Group and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, November 17th. Vetr raised shares of Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $71.45 price objective for the company in a research report on Friday, January 26th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $78.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Tuesday, February 6th. Piper Jaffray Companies boosted their price objective on shares of Altria Group from $76.00 to $81.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, February 2nd. Finally, Berenberg Bank raised shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their price objective for the company from $60.01 to $71.00 in a research report on Tuesday, December 19th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating, eight have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $73.66.

Shares of Altria Group Inc (NYSE MO) opened at $66.13 on Wednesday. Altria Group Inc has a 1 year low of $60.01 and a 1 year high of $77.79. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.85, a quick ratio of 0.31 and a current ratio of 0.64. The stock has a market cap of $125,680.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.58, a PEG ratio of 1.91 and a beta of 0.63.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $0.91 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.11. The company had revenue of $4.71 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.80 billion. Altria Group had a net margin of 39.97% and a return on equity of 50.01%. Altria Group’s quarterly revenue was down .4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.68 EPS. sell-side analysts forecast that Altria Group Inc will post 4 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 10th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th will be issued a $0.70 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $2.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.23%. This is an increase from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.66. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio is currently 74.16%.

Altria Group declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase program on Thursday, February 1st that permits the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 3,200 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, March 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.34, for a total value of $199,488.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Craig A. Johnson sold 14,953 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, February 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $66.59, for a total transaction of $995,720.27. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 64,809 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,315,631.31. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 28,117 shares of company stock valued at $1,821,707 in the last ninety days. 0.11% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

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

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