News coverage about Altria Group (NYSE:MO) has been trending somewhat positive on Friday, according to Accern Sentiment. The research group ranks the sentiment of media coverage by analyzing more than twenty million blog and news sources in real time. Accern ranks coverage of public companies on a scale of negative one to positive one, with scores nearest to one being the most favorable. Altria Group earned a daily sentiment score of 0.20 on Accern’s scale. Accern also assigned news stories about the company an impact score of 46.7265074598842 out of 100, meaning that recent media coverage is somewhat unlikely to have an effect on the stock’s share price in the near future.

Here are some of the news stories that may have impacted Accern Sentiment’s analysis:

Shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) traded down 0.80% during midday trading on Friday, hitting $62.23. 6,736,941 shares of the stock traded hands. Altria Group has a 52-week low of $60.01 and a 52-week high of $77.79. The company has a market cap of $119.98 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.21 and a beta of 0.63. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $65.63 and a 200-day moving average of $71.66.

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

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 10th. Investors of record on Friday, September 15th will be issued a $0.66 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $2.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.24%. This is a boost from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. Altria Group’s payout ratio is 32.19%.

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

Several equities analysts recently commented on MO shares. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. Jefferies Group LLC set a $67.00 price target on shares of Altria Group and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, August 24th. Vetr downgraded shares of Altria Group from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.00 price target on the stock. in a report on Wednesday. Royal Bank Of Canada upgraded shares of Altria Group from an “underperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating and set a $62.00 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 11th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $71.81.

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In related news, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of Altria Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total value of $994,959.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 701,074 shares in the company, valued at $45,590,842.22. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

Altria Group Company Profile

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.

Insider Buying and Selling by Quarter for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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