Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reaffirmed their neutral rating on shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) in a research report report published on Saturday morning. The firm currently has a $68.00 price objective on the stock, down from their prior price objective of $69.00.

Other equities analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Stifel Nicolaus reissued a buy rating and set a $71.00 target price (up previously from $65.00) on shares of Altria Group in a report on Monday, June 27th. Vetr cut Altria Group from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating and set a $71.90 target price for the company. in a report on Tuesday, September 13th. Citigroup Inc. began coverage on shares of Altria Group in a report on Monday, September 12th. They issued a buy rating and a $72.00 target price on the stock. Argus set a $73.00 target price on shares of Altria Group and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Monday, August 1st. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Altria Group from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $78.00 target price on the stock in a report on Monday, July 11th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the stock. Altria Group currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $69.36.

Shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) traded down 0.40% during midday trading on Friday, hitting $62.44. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 4,716,586 shares. Altria Group has a 12-month low of $56.15 and a 12-month high of $70.15. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $63.79 and a 200 day moving average of $64.96. The firm has a market cap of $122.01 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.68 and a beta of 0.52.

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

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, October 11th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were paid a $0.61 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. This is an increase from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.57. This represents a $2.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.91%. Altria Group’s payout ratio is currently 84.72%.

In related news, SVP Charles N. Whitaker sold 11,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.53, for a total transaction of $731,830.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, SVP James E. Dillard III sold 9,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 3rd. The stock was 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 company insiders.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of MO. American Economic Planning Group Inc. ADV acquired a new stake in Altria Group during the first quarter worth $210,000. Terra Nova Asset Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Altria Group by 8.0% in the first quarter. Terra Nova Asset Management LLC now owns 22,962 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,439,000 after buying an additional 1,710 shares in the last quarter. IFP Advisors Inc boosted its position in shares of Altria Group by 25.2% in the first quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 228,853 shares of the company’s stock worth $14,340,000 after buying an additional 46,068 shares in the last quarter. Cortland Associates Inc. MO boosted its position in shares of Altria Group by 0.3% in the first quarter. Cortland Associates Inc. MO now owns 5,714 shares of the company’s stock worth $358,000 after buying an additional 15 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Northern Oak Wealth Management Inc. boosted its position in shares of Altria Group by 0.7% in the first quarter. Northern Oak Wealth Management Inc. now owns 101,243 shares of the company’s stock worth $6,344,000 after buying an additional 679 shares in the last quarter. 61.29% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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