Altria Group (NYSE:MO)‘s stock had its “hold” rating reissued by equities researchers at Cowen and Company in a report issued on Sunday.

Other research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. BidaskClub lowered shares of Altria Group from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 28th. Vetr raised shares of Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $80.18 target price for the company in a research report on Monday, June 5th. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $76.00 target price on shares of Altria Group and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 27th. Stifel Nicolaus cut their target price on shares of Altria Group from $77.00 to $72.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC restated a “hold” rating and set a $70.00 price objective (down previously from $71.00) on shares of Altria Group in a report on Monday, July 17th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $71.81.

Altria Group (MO) opened at 62.23 on Friday. The stock has a market capitalization of $119.98 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.21 and a beta of 0.63. Altria Group has a 52-week low of $60.01 and a 52-week high of $77.79. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $65.63 and a 200 day moving average price of $71.66.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The company reported $0.85 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.86 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $4.37 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.02 billion. Altria Group had a net margin of 56.98% and a return on equity of 59.50%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.81 EPS. On average, equities research analysts predict that Altria Group will post $3.26 EPS for the current year.

Altria Group announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback program on Thursday, July 27th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to buy up to 0.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

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In other news, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total transaction of $994,959.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 701,074 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $45,590,842.22. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 0.11% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of MO. Janus Henderson Group PLC increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 21,647.0% during the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 19,831,702 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,476,867,000 after acquiring an additional 19,740,509 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 7.6% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 127,525,988 shares of the company’s stock worth $9,496,859,000 after acquiring an additional 8,969,677 shares in the last quarter. Capital World Investors increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 27.6% during the second quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 41,157,755 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,065,018,000 after acquiring an additional 8,914,575 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 2.0% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 136,023,361 shares of the company’s stock worth $10,129,659,000 after acquiring an additional 2,690,270 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Swiss National Bank grew its position in Altria Group by 25.1% in the first quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 7,486,394 shares of the company’s stock valued at $534,678,000 after purchasing an additional 1,501,400 shares in the last quarter. 61.89% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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