Puplava Financial Services Inc. lowered its position in shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) by 0.9% during the second quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 21,586 shares of the company’s stock after selling 189 shares during the period. Altria Group comprises about 0.8% of Puplava Financial Services Inc.’s portfolio, making the stock its 22nd largest position. Puplava Financial Services Inc.’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $1,608,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in MO. State Street Corp increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 0.9% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 74,624,722 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,329,771,000 after buying an additional 687,246 shares during the last quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 5.7% in the first quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 8,790,490 shares of the company’s stock worth $627,817,000 after buying an additional 476,393 shares during the last quarter. Swiss National Bank increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 25.1% in the first quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 7,486,394 shares of the company’s stock worth $534,678,000 after buying an additional 1,501,400 shares during the last quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 7.4% in the first quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 5,632,931 shares of the company’s stock worth $402,304,000 after buying an additional 387,069 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 9.1% in the first quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 4,639,646 shares of the company’s stock worth $331,364,000 after buying an additional 388,541 shares during the last quarter. 61.89% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Altria Group (MO) traded down 0.50% during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $63.73. 3,259,643 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The stock has a market cap of $122.87 billion, a P/E ratio of 8.40 and a beta of 0.61. Altria Group has a 1-year low of $60.01 and a 1-year high of $77.79. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $68.44 and a 200-day moving average price of $72.24.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last issued 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. The business had revenue of $4.37 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.02 billion. Altria Group had a return on equity of 59.50% and a net margin of 56.98%. Altria Group’s revenue was up 3.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.81 earnings per share. Equities research analysts anticipate that Altria Group will post $3.26 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 10th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.66 per share. This is a boost from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. This represents a $2.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.12%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 32.19%.

Altria Group declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase program on Thursday, July 27th that allows the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to purchase up to 0.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

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A number of research analysts recently commented on MO shares. BidaskClub raised shares of Altria Group from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, July 31st. Jefferies Group LLC set a $67.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 24th. Royal Bank Of Canada raised shares of Altria Group from an “underperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating and set a $62.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Monday, July 31st. Vetr raised shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $79.51 price objective on the stock in a research report on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating, seven have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Altria Group currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $72.47.

In other news, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of the firm’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 completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 701,074 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $45,590,842.22. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. 0.11% of the stock is owned by company 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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