Arthur M. Cohen & Associates LLC bought a new stake in shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor bought 4,400 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $314,000.

Other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. LeJeune Puetz Investment Counsel LLC bought a new position in Altria Group during the fourth quarter valued at $464,000. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans increased its position in Altria Group by 5.0% in the fourth quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 68,010 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,599,000 after buying an additional 3,260 shares during the period. Pacific Center for Financial Services bought a new position in Altria Group during the fourth quarter valued at $285,000. Advantage Investment Management LLC bought a new position in Altria Group during the fourth quarter valued at $116,000. Finally, Comprehensive Portfolio Management LLC bought a new position in Altria Group during the fourth quarter valued at $568,000. Institutional investors own 62.47% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Altria Group (NYSE MO) opened at 65.52 on Monday. Altria Group has a one year low of $60.01 and a one year high of $77.79. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $73.93 and a 200 day moving average price of $73.05. The company has a market capitalization of $126.32 billion, a PE ratio of 8.64 and a beta of 0.61.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The company reported $0.85 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.86 by $0.01. Altria Group had a return on equity of 59.50% and a net margin of 56.98%. The company had revenue of $4.37 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.02 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.81 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts predict that Altria Group will post $3.26 earnings per share for the current year.

Altria Group declared that its board has authorized a stock repurchase program on Thursday, July 27th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to reacquire up to 0.7% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, July 10th. Investors of record on Thursday, June 15th were given a dividend of $0.61 per share. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, June 13th. This represents a $2.44 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.72%. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 32.19%.

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Several equities analysts recently weighed in on MO shares. Vetr downgraded Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $74.89 target price on the stock. in a research report on Tuesday, April 11th. Zacks Investment Research cut Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, May 23rd. Piper Jaffray Companies started coverage on Altria Group in a report on Wednesday, May 24th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $76.00 price target on the stock. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a “sell” rating and set a $62.00 price target on shares of Altria Group in a report on Friday, May 26th. Finally, BidaskClub raised Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, June 21st. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating, seven have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $72.66.

In related news, Director George Munoz sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.35, for a total transaction of $361,750.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. 0.15% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

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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