Meeder Asset Management Inc. lessened its stake in Altria Group (NYSE:MO) by 45.9% during the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 60,330 shares of the company’s stock after selling 51,215 shares during the quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc.’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $4,493,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MO. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. grew its holdings in Altria Group by 133.3% during 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 in the last quarter. Perigon Wealth Management LLC increased its stake in Altria Group by 4.7% in the 1st quarter. Perigon Wealth Management LLC now owns 1,641 shares of the company’s stock worth $118,000 after acquiring an additional 74 shares during the last quarter. Proficio Capital Partners LLC increased its stake in Altria Group by 97.4% in the 1st quarter. Proficio Capital Partners LLC now owns 1,664 shares of the company’s stock worth $121,000 after acquiring an additional 821 shares during the last quarter. Advantage Investment Management LLC increased its stake in Altria Group by 1.9% in the 1st quarter. Advantage Investment Management LLC now owns 1,752 shares of the company’s stock worth $125,000 after acquiring an additional 32 shares during the last quarter. Finally, American Beacon Advisors Inc. bought a new stake in Altria Group in the 1st quarter worth approximately $164,000. 61.85% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Several analysts have recently issued reports on MO shares. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $62.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group in a report on Tuesday. Cowen and Company raised shares of Altria Group from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and raised their target price for the company from $64.00 to $71.00 in a report on Tuesday, September 26th. Vetr upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $69.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, September 20th. BidaskClub cut shares of Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report on Friday, August 25th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC set a $67.00 price target on shares of Altria Group and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 24th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating, six have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Altria Group currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $71.57.

Altria Group (NYSE MO) traded up 0.56% during trading on Tuesday, hitting $63.25. 2,922,224 shares of the company were exchanged. Altria Group has a 12 month low of $60.01 and a 12 month high of $77.79. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $63.39 and its 200-day moving average is $70.17. The company has a market capitalization of $121.95 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.34 and a beta of 0.64.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last announced its quarterly earnings results 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 company had revenue of $4.37 billion for 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%. Altria Group’s revenue was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.81 earnings per share. Equities research analysts anticipate that Altria Group will post $3.26 earnings per share for the current year.

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

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 10th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be issued a $0.66 dividend. This is a positive change from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. This represents a $2.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.20%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio is currently 34.83%.

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In related news, Director Dinyar S. Devitre sold 32,000 shares of Altria Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.22, for a total value of $1,959,040.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, 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 transaction of $994,959.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 701,074 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $45,590,842.22. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

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.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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