Altria Group (NYSE:MO) updated its FY16 earnings guidance on Tuesday. The company provided EPS guidance of $2.98 to $3.04 for the period, compared to the Thomson Reuters consensus EPS estimate of $3.05.

Several brokerages recently issued reports on MO. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Altria Group from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $78.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Monday, July 11th. Vetr upgraded shares of Altria Group from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating and set a $77.35 price objective on the stock in a report on Wednesday, July 20th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. restated a neutral rating and issued a $69.00 price objective (up previously from $64.00) on shares of Altria Group in a report on Friday, July 15th. Argus set a $73.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Monday, August 1st. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus restated a buy rating and issued a $71.00 price objective (up previously from $65.00) on shares of Altria Group in a report on Monday, June 27th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Altria Group presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $69.44.

Shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) traded up 0.0714% on Tuesday, reaching $61.7941. 4,515,112 shares of the company were exchanged. The stock has a market capitalization of $120.75 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.4563 and a beta of 0.52. Altria Group has a 52 week low of $56.15 and a 52 week high of $70.15. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $64.23 and its 200 day moving average price is $65.01.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.81 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.80 by $0.01. Altria Group had a net margin of 22.05% and a return on equity of 198.82%. The company earned $6.52 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.01 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.74 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.4% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts anticipate that Altria Group will post $3.05 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 11th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 15th will be issued a $0.61 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $2.44 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.95%. This is a positive change from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.57. Altria Group’s payout ratio is currently 84.72%.

In other news, SVP Charles N. Whitaker sold 11,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.53, for a total value of $731,830.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, SVP James E. Dillard III sold 9,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.68, for a total transaction of $600,120.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.15% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Seven Eight Capital LLC purchased a new position in shares of Altria Group during the second quarter worth about $187,000. Blue Edge Capital LLC bought a new stake in Altria Group during the second quarter valued at $212,000. Roundview Capital LLC bought a new stake in Altria Group during the second quarter valued at $319,000. Weiss Multi Strategy Advisers LLC bought a new stake in Altria Group during the second quarter valued at $323,000. Finally, Ancora Advisors LLC increased its stake in Altria Group by 24.9% in the second quarter. Ancora Advisors LLC now owns 4,923 shares of the company’s stock valued at $339,000 after buying an additional 982 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 61.29% of the company’s stock.

About Altria Group

Altria Group, Inc is a holding company. 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 large cigars and pipe tobacco, and UST LLC (UST), which through its subsidiaries, including U.S.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MO

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