Altria Group (NYSE:MO) – Equities research analysts at Jefferies Group dropped their FY2016 earnings per share (EPS) estimates for shares of Altria Group in a research report issued on Tuesday. Jefferies Group analyst O. Bennett now forecasts that the brokerage will post earnings per share of $3.01 for the year, down from their prior estimate of $3.07. Jefferies Group has a “Hold” rating and a $68.00 price target on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Altria Group’s FY2017 earnings at $3.29 EPS, FY2018 earnings at $3.55 EPS and FY2019 earnings at $3.83 EPS.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 27th. The company reported $0.82 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.81 by $0.01. Altria Group had a net margin of 20.19% and a return on equity of 202.19%. The firm had revenue of $6.90 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.11 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.75 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 4.3% on a year-over-year basis.

Earnings History and Estimates for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

MO has been the topic of several other reports. Vetr upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $71.87 target price on the stock in a report on Monday, September 12th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $74.00 target price on the stock in a report on Thursday, August 4th. 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. Finally, Argus set a $73.00 target price on shares of Altria Group and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, August 1st. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $69.94.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) opened at 62.66 on Wednesday. The company has a market capitalization of $122.31 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.56 and a beta of 0.57. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $63.29 and its 200-day moving average is $65.23. Altria Group has a 1-year low of $56.15 and a 1-year high of $70.15.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in MO. Emerald Acquisition Ltd. purchased a new stake in shares of Altria Group during the second quarter worth approximately $233,157,000. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Altria Group by 2.8% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 125,294,855 shares of the company’s stock worth $8,640,334,000 after buying an additional 3,366,581 shares in the last quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company purchased a new stake in shares of Altria Group during the third quarter worth approximately $194,938,000. Janus Capital Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Altria Group by 16.5% in the second quarter. Janus Capital Management LLC now owns 19,024,943 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,311,960,000 after buying an additional 2,688,986 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can purchased a new stake in shares of Altria Group during the second quarter worth approximately $170,990,000. 61.25% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

In other Altria Group news, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,960 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.85, for a total value of $1,050,966.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 833,577 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $54,891,045.45. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 0.15% 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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