Wall Street brokerages expect Altria (NYSE:MO) to announce $1.01 earnings per share for the current quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Five analysts have issued estimates for Altria’s earnings. The highest EPS estimate is $1.05 and the lowest is $0.97. Altria posted earnings of $0.85 per share during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year-over-year growth rate of 18.8%. The company is scheduled to report its next quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 26th.

On average, analysts expect that Altria will report full year earnings of $4.00 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.97 to $4.03. For the next financial year, analysts expect that the business will report earnings of $4.37 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $4.33 to $4.46. Zacks Investment Research’s EPS averages are an average based on a survey of sell-side analysts that that provide coverage for Altria.

Altria (NYSE:MO) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, April 26th. The company reported $0.95 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.93 by $0.02. Altria had a net margin of 41.85% and a return on equity of 49.92%. The firm had revenue of $4.67 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.63 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.73 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.8% on a year-over-year basis.

Several analysts recently weighed in on MO shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Altria from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 target price for the company in a report on Monday, April 9th. Deutsche Bank started coverage on shares of Altria in a report on Monday, March 26th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $72.00 target price for the company. Jefferies Financial Group reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $84.00 target price on shares of Altria in a report on Thursday, March 15th. Argus reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $79.00 target price (up previously from $66.13) on shares of Altria in a report on Wednesday, March 14th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $75.00 target price on shares of Altria and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, April 23rd. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating, ten have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Altria currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $72.21.

In other Altria news, Director Mark Newman purchased 5,345 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, April 30th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $56.19 per share, for a total transaction of $300,335.55. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now directly owns 6,022 shares in the company, valued at approximately $338,376.18. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in Altria by 0.8% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 135,404,376 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,669,229,000 after acquiring an additional 1,140,353 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC lifted its position in Altria by 3.0% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 21,709,187 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,547,228,000 after acquiring an additional 629,732 shares during the last quarter. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC lifted its position in Altria by 4.4% in the first quarter. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC now owns 19,553,628 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,218,582,000 after acquiring an additional 822,620 shares during the last quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA lifted its position in Altria by 60.9% in the first quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 14,636,235 shares of the company’s stock valued at $912,131,000 after acquiring an additional 5,542,534 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. lifted its position in Altria by 17.7% in the first quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 11,564,981 shares of the company’s stock valued at $720,730,000 after acquiring an additional 1,736,849 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 63.04% of the company’s stock.

Altria traded up $0.33, hitting $57.02, during trading on Friday, Marketbeat.com reports. The company had a trading volume of 7,575,299 shares, compared to its average volume of 7,394,035. Altria has a 1-year low of $53.91 and a 1-year high of $77.00. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.85, a quick ratio of 0.34 and a current ratio of 0.65. The company has a market capitalization of $107.29 billion, a PE ratio of 16.87, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.65 and a beta of 0.63.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, July 10th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 15th will be paid a $0.70 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, June 14th. This represents a $2.80 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.91%. Altria’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 82.84%.

Altria declared that its board has approved a stock buyback program on Thursday, May 17th that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to reacquire up to 1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

About Altria

Altria Group, Inc, through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States. It offers cigarettes primarily under the Marlboro brand; cigars principally under the Black & Mild brand; and moist smokeless tobacco products under the Copenhagen, Skoal, Red Seal, and Husky brands.

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Earnings History and Estimates for Altria (NYSE:MO)

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