Jefferies Group initiated coverage on shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday. The firm set a “hold” rating and a $70.00 price target on the stock. Jefferies Group’s price objective would indicate a potential upside of 10.24% from the stock’s previous close.

MO has been the topic of several other research reports. Zacks Investment Research lowered Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, July 4th. Credit Agricole SA lowered their price target on Altria Group from $69.00 to $68.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, September 15th. Vetr raised Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $72.13 price target on the stock in a report on Wednesday, May 25th. Citigroup Inc. started coverage on Altria Group in a report on Monday, September 12th. They set a “buy” rating and a $72.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Berenberg Bank started coverage on Altria Group in a report on Tuesday, June 14th. They set a “buy” rating and a $74.00 price target on the stock. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $69.45.

Analyst Recommendations for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) traded up 0.84% during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $63.50. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 4,966,311 shares. Altria Group has a 52 week low of $53.68 and a 52 week high of $70.15. The company’s 50-day moving average is $65.74 and its 200 day moving average is $64.93. The firm has a market capitalization of $124.08 billion, a P/E ratio of 22.05 and a beta of 0.48.

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Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.81 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $6.52 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.01 billion. Altria Group had a return on equity of 198.82% and a net margin of 22.05%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 1.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.74 earnings per share. Analysts expect that Altria Group will post $3.05 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 11th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 15th will be given a dividend of $0.61 per share. This represents a $2.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.84%. This is an increase from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.57. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 13th. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 84.72%.

In related news, SVP James E. Dillard III sold 9,000 shares of Altria Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $66.68, for a total transaction of $600,120.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, SVP Charles N. Whitaker sold 11,000 shares of Altria Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $66.53, for a total value of $731,830.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.15% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MO. First PREMIER Bank purchased a new stake in Altria Group during the second quarter valued at approximately $103,000. First Personal Financial Services boosted its stake in Altria Group by 66.3% in the second quarter. First Personal Financial Services now owns 1,603 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after buying an additional 639 shares during the last quarter. Tortoise Investment Management LLC boosted its stake in Altria Group by 26.6% in the second quarter. Tortoise Investment Management LLC now owns 1,654 shares of the company’s stock valued at $114,000 after buying an additional 348 shares during the last quarter. CapWealth Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Altria Group by 6.3% in the first quarter. CapWealth Advisors LLC now owns 2,073 shares of the company’s stock valued at $130,000 after buying an additional 123 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Zions Bancorporation boosted its stake in Altria Group by 48.4% in the second quarter. Zions Bancorporation now owns 1,971 shares of the company’s stock valued at $137,000 after buying an additional 643 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 61.29% of the company’s stock.

Altria Group Company Profile

Altria Group, Inc is a holding company. 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 large cigars and pipe tobacco, and UST LLC (UST), which through its subsidiaries, including U.S.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MO

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