Legal & General Group Plc trimmed its holdings in Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) by 5.9% in the second quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 7,999,753 shares of the company’s stock after selling 502,325 shares during the quarter. Legal & General Group Plc’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $454,306,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in MO. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA raised its holdings in shares of Altria Group 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 buying an additional 5,542,534 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 3.4% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 138,589,215 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,870,481,000 after buying an additional 4,581,335 shares during the last quarter. Charles Schwab Investment Advisory Inc. bought a new position in shares of Altria Group in the second quarter valued at about $178,215,000. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Altria Group 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 buying an additional 1,736,849 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Boston Partners raised its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 282.0% in the first quarter. Boston Partners now owns 2,226,211 shares of the company’s stock valued at $138,737,000 after buying an additional 1,643,445 shares during the last quarter. 63.27% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

A number of research analysts recently issued reports on MO shares. Zacks Investment Research cut Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Monday, May 14th. Stifel Nicolaus cut their price target on Altria Group from $78.00 to $65.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a report on Friday, July 27th. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $75.00 price target on Altria Group and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 23rd. Jefferies Financial Group cut Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $61.00 price target for the company. in a report on Friday, August 24th. Finally, ValuEngine cut Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Monday, May 14th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating, nine have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Altria Group currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $71.01.

Shares of NYSE:MO opened at $58.68 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $110.19 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.36, a PEG ratio of 1.66 and a beta of 0.65. Altria Group Inc has a 1-year low of $53.91 and a 1-year high of $74.38. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.83, a current ratio of 0.65 and a quick ratio of 0.31.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 26th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.00 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $4.88 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.02 billion. Altria Group had a return on equity of 48.88% and a net margin of 42.00%. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 3.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.85 EPS. sell-side analysts expect that Altria Group Inc will post 4 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 10th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 14th will be issued a dividend of $0.80 per share. This is a boost from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.70. This represents a $3.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 5.45%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 13th. Altria Group’s payout ratio is currently 82.84%.

Altria Group announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback program on Thursday, May 17th that permits the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to repurchase up to 1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

About Altria Group

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

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