Altria Group Given “Neutral” Rating at Zacks (MO)
Altria Group (NYSE:MO)‘s stock had its “neutral” rating restated by Zacks in a research note issued to investors on Thursday. They currently have a $45.00 price target on the stock. Zacks‘s price target would suggest a potential upside of 5.09% from the company’s current price.
Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Altria’s second-quarter 2014 earnings of $0.65 were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, earnings increased 4.8% year over year backed by strong performance of the leading premium brands. Sales were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate but up 1% year over year as soft revenues in the Smokeable segment offset the gains in the Smokeless and wine segment. Overall, we are encouraged by the company’s efforts to adapt to the evolving consumer trends and develop less harmful alternative tobacco products. Also, we commend the company’s growing market share in the e-cigarette category. However, shift in demand from traditional tobacco products has dented volumes in the Smokeable segment. Higher fees associated with litigations and the FDA’s anti-smoking campaigns are hurting profitability. Hence, we prefer to remain Neutral on the stock with a target price of $45.00 “
Shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) traded up 0.12% during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $42.87. 1,286,459 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Altria Group has a one year low of $33.54 and a one year high of $43.70. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $42.01 and a 200-day moving average of $39.74. The company has a market cap of $84.883 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.79.
Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its earnings data on Tuesday, July 22nd. The company reported $0.65 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the analysts’ consensus estimate of $0.66 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $6.26 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.60 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.62 earnings per share. Altria Group’s revenue was up 1.6% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts expect that Altria Group will post $2.57 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Friday, October 10th. Shareholders of record on Monday, September 15th will be given a dividend of $0.52 per share. This represents a $2.08 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.86%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 11th. This is a positive change from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48.
Several other analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Analysts at Cowen and Company initiated coverage on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Thursday, July 10th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $91.00 price target on the stock. Analysts at Stifel Nicolaus raised their price target on shares of Altria Group from $40.00 to $43.00 in a research note on Monday, June 2nd. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the stock. Altria Group has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $48.88.
Altria Group, Inc, is a holding company. At December 31, 2012, Altria Group, Inc’s direct and indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries included Philip Morris USA Inc (NYSE:MO), which is engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes and certain smokeless products in the United States; John Middleton Co (Middleton), which is engaged in the manufacture and sale of machine-made cigars and pipe tobacco, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of PM USA; and UST LLC (UST), which through its direct and indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries, including U.
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