Sterling Investment Management Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) by 2.3% in the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 41,991 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 953 shares during the period. Altria Group makes up about 3.2% of Sterling Investment Management Inc.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 9th largest holding. Sterling Investment Management Inc.’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $2,999,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of the company. Cadinha & Co. LLC lifted its position in Altria Group by 34.8% in the second quarter. Cadinha & Co. LLC now owns 9,301 shares of the company’s stock worth $693,000 after purchasing an additional 2,401 shares during the period. LMR Partners LLP acquired a new stake in Altria Group in the second quarter worth approximately $1,120,000. Teacher Retirement System of Texas lifted its position in Altria Group by 4.6% in the second quarter. Teacher Retirement System of Texas now owns 1,763,350 shares of the company’s stock worth $131,317,000 after purchasing an additional 76,988 shares during the period. Rational Advisors LLC lifted its position in Altria Group by 44.1% in the second quarter. Rational Advisors LLC now owns 27,397 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,040,000 after purchasing an additional 8,384 shares during the period. Finally, Rhumbline Advisers lifted its position in Altria Group by 0.6% in the second quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 2,870,318 shares of the company’s stock worth $213,753,000 after purchasing an additional 17,006 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 62.61% of the company’s stock.

Altria Group Inc (MO) opened at $65.18 on Thursday. The stock has a market capitalization of $124,380.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.23, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.90 and a beta of 0.53. Altria Group Inc has a twelve month low of $60.01 and a twelve month high of $77.79. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.85, a current ratio of 0.64 and a quick ratio of 0.31.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $0.91 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.11. The company had revenue of $4.71 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.80 billion. Altria Group had a return on equity of 50.01% and a net margin of 39.97%. The firm’s revenue was down .4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.68 earnings per share. equities research analysts forecast that Altria Group Inc will post 4 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Altria Group announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, February 1st that permits the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Altria Group news, SVP James E. Dillard III sold 6,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.13, for a total value of $410,345.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, CEO Craig A. Johnson sold 14,953 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, February 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.59, for a total value of $995,720.27. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 64,809 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,315,631.31. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.11% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of equities research analysts have weighed in on MO shares. Vetr upgraded Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $71.89 target price for the company in a research report on Tuesday, October 24th. Piper Jaffray Companies restated a “buy” rating and issued a $76.00 target price on shares of Altria Group in a research report on Friday, October 27th. UBS Group cut their target price on Altria Group from $72.00 to $68.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Citigroup cut their target price on Altria Group from $80.00 to $75.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Monday, October 30th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $73.00 target price for the company in a research report on Tuesday, October 31st. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating, nine have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $73.66.

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

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