Investors sold shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) on strength during trading on Thursday. $45.34 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $88.18 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $42.84 million out of the stock. Of all equities tracked, Altria Group had the 0th highest net out-flow for the day. Altria Group traded up $0.32 for the day and closed at $63.81

A number of brokerages have commented on MO. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $62.00 target price on shares of Altria Group in a report on Tuesday. Berenberg Bank set a $72.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Sunday, August 6th. Vetr cut shares of Altria Group from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.00 price objective for the company. in a research note on Wednesday, September 6th. BidaskClub raised shares of Altria Group from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Finally, UBS AG reduced their price objective on shares of Altria Group from $78.00 to $72.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research note on Monday, July 31st. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating, six have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Altria Group currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $71.57.

The company has a market capitalization of $120.60 billion, a PE ratio of 8.25 and a beta of 0.64. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $63.20 and a 200 day moving average price of $69.90.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The company reported $0.85 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.86 by ($0.01). The company had revenue of $4.37 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations 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 previous year, the firm posted $0.81 EPS. Equities research analysts expect that Altria Group will post $3.26 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared 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. This represents a $2.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.22%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. This is a positive change from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. Altria Group’s payout ratio is presently 34.83%.

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

In other news, Director Dinyar S. Devitre sold 32,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.22, for a total transaction of $1,959,040.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total transaction of $994,959.00. Following 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 disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.11% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. HM Capital Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 0.3% during the first quarter. HM Capital Management LLC now owns 3,435 shares of the company’s stock worth $245,000 after buying an additional 9 shares in the last quarter. Baystate Wealth Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 0.3% during the second quarter. Baystate Wealth Management LLC now owns 3,675 shares of the company’s stock worth $270,000 after buying an additional 10 shares in the last quarter. Bellwether Investment Group LLC grew its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 0.3% during the second quarter. Bellwether Investment Group LLC now owns 4,451 shares of the company’s stock worth $331,000 after buying an additional 12 shares in the last quarter. Strategic Financial Group LLC grew its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 0.4% during the first quarter. Strategic Financial Group LLC now owns 3,293 shares of the company’s stock worth $235,000 after buying an additional 14 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Lafayette Investments Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 0.7% during the first quarter. Lafayette Investments Inc. now owns 3,863 shares of the company’s stock worth $276,000 after buying an additional 25 shares in the last quarter. 61.85% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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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