Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY trimmed its stake in Altria Group (NYSE:MO) by 1.8% during the first quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 1,034,340 shares of the company’s stock after selling 19,315 shares during the period. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY owned approximately 0.05% of Altria Group worth $73,873,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently bought and sold shares of MO. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. grew its position in shares of Altria Group by 133.3% in the 1st quarter. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. now owns 1,400 shares of the company’s stock valued at $100,000 after buying an additional 800 shares during the last quarter. Advantage Investment Management LLC boosted its stake in Altria Group by 1.9% during the 1st quarter. Advantage Investment Management LLC now owns 1,752 shares of the company’s stock worth $125,000 after purchasing an additional 32 shares during the period. Feltz Wealth PLAN Inc. acquired a new stake in Altria Group during the 1st quarter worth $134,000. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC boosted its stake in Altria Group by 102.5% during the 1st quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC now owns 2,669 shares of the company’s stock worth $191,000 after purchasing an additional 1,351 shares during the period. Finally, Mascoma Wealth Management LLC boosted its stake in Altria Group by 0.3% during the 1st quarter. Mascoma Wealth Management LLC now owns 2,701 shares of the company’s stock worth $193,000 after purchasing an additional 8 shares during the period. 61.89% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) traded up 0.74% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $62.69. 2,284,864 shares of the stock traded hands. The firm has a market cap of $120.87 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.27 and a beta of 0.63. Altria Group has a 1-year low of $60.01 and a 1-year high of $77.79. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $65.40 and a 200 day moving average of $71.63.

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 Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.86 by $0.01. Altria Group had a net margin of 56.98% and a return on equity of 59.50%. The business had revenue of $4.37 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.02 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.81 earnings per share. Altria Group’s revenue was up 3.2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts expect that Altria Group will post $3.26 EPS for the current year.

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

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

In other Altria Group news, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated 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 sale, 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 filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. 0.11% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

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A number of analysts recently weighed in on MO shares. Vetr upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $80.18 price target for the company in a research note on Tuesday, May 16th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, May 23rd. Piper Jaffray Companies started coverage on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Wednesday, May 24th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $76.00 price target for the company. Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a “sell” rating and set a $62.00 price target on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Friday, May 26th. Finally, BidaskClub upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 21st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Altria Group currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $71.81.

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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