Jefferies Group LLC set a $67.00 price target on Altria Group (NYSE:MO) in a research report released on Thursday. The firm currently has a hold rating on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Altria Group’s FY2017 earnings at $3.26 EPS, FY2018 earnings at $3.63 EPS, FY2019 earnings at $3.82 EPS and FY2020 earnings at $3.96 EPS.

Other equities research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. BidaskClub lowered shares of Altria Group from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Wednesday, July 12th. Cowen and Company restated a hold rating and set a $74.00 price target on shares of Altria Group in a report on Tuesday, July 11th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Altria Group from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, July 11th. Piper Jaffray Companies began coverage on shares of Altria Group in a report on Wednesday, May 24th. They set an overweight rating and a $76.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Vetr upgraded shares of Altria Group from a sell rating to a buy rating and set a $80.18 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, June 5th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating, seven have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $72.47.

Shares of Altria Group (NYSE MO) traded up 0.96% on Thursday, hitting $64.21. The stock had a trading volume of 2,726,111 shares. Altria Group has a one year low of $60.01 and a one year high of $77.79. The company’s 50 day moving average is $68.72 and its 200 day moving average is $72.29. The stock has a market cap of $123.80 billion, a PE ratio of 8.47 and a beta of 0.61.

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

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Altria Group declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback plan on Thursday, July 27th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to repurchase up to 0.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 10th. Investors of record on Friday, September 15th will be given a dividend of $0.66 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. This is an increase from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. This represents a $2.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.15%. Altria Group’s payout ratio is presently 32.19%.

In related news, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total transaction of $994,959.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 701,074 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $45,590,842.22. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Insiders own 0.15% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Janus Henderson Group PLC increased its stake in Altria Group by 21,647.0% in the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 19,831,702 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,476,867,000 after buying an additional 19,740,509 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in Altria Group by 7.6% in the second 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 in the last quarter. Capital World Investors increased its stake in Altria Group by 27.6% in the second 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 in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in Altria Group by 2.0% in the second 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 in the last quarter. Finally, Swiss National Bank increased its stake in Altria Group by 25.1% in the first quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 7,486,394 shares of the company’s stock valued at $534,678,000 after buying an additional 1,501,400 shares in the last quarter. 62.39% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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