Altria Group (NYSE:MO) declared that its board has approved a stock buyback program, which authorizes the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares on Thursday, July 27th, EventVestor reports. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to reacquire up to 0.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

Altria Group (MO) traded down 11.5118% during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $65.4459. 24,334,560 shares of the company were exchanged. Altria Group has a 1-year low of $60.01 and a 1-year high of $77.79. The firm has a market capitalization of $126.90 billion, a P/E ratio of 8.8560 and a beta of 0.64. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $74.75 and a 200 day moving average of $73.01.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The company reported $0.85 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.86 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $4.37 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.02 billion. Altria Group had a net margin of 55.99% and a return on equity of 76.43%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.81 earnings per share. Equities research analysts forecast that Altria Group will post $3.28 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, July 10th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, June 15th were paid a $0.61 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, June 13th. This represents a $2.44 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.30%. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio is currently 33.02%.

Several research analysts recently commented on the stock. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $76.00 price target on shares of Altria Group and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday. Cowen and Company set a $78.00 price target on shares of Altria Group and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Monday. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $70.00 price target (down previously from $71.00) on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Monday, July 17th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 11th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $72.59.

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In other Altria Group news, Director George Munoz sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.35, for a total value of $361,750.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, Director Dinyar S. Devitre sold 4,285 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, May 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.72, for a total transaction of $303,035.20. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 112,457 shares in the company, valued at $7,952,959.04. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.15% of the company’s stock.

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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