Eagle Asset Management Inc. Lowers Position in Altria Group (MO)

Eagle Asset Management Inc. reduced its position in shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) by 5.0% during the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 1,731,339 shares of the company’s stock after selling 90,528 shares during the period. Altria Group comprises 0.8% of Eagle Asset Management Inc.’s portfolio, making the stock its 16th largest position. Eagle Asset Management Inc. owned 0.09% of Altria Group worth $123,652,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently bought and sold shares of MO. LVM Capital Management Ltd. MI raised its holdings in Altria Group by 0.5% in the first quarter. LVM Capital Management Ltd. MI now owns 58,005 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,143,000 after acquiring an additional 275 shares in the last quarter. Stillwater Investment Management LLC raised its holdings in Altria Group by 0.8% in the first quarter. Stillwater Investment Management LLC now owns 4,203 shares of the company’s stock valued at $300,000 after acquiring an additional 33 shares in the last quarter. Univest Corp of Pennsylvania raised its holdings in Altria Group by 3.1% in the first quarter. Univest Corp of Pennsylvania now owns 6,233 shares of the company’s stock valued at $445,000 after acquiring an additional 187 shares in the last quarter. Legacy Private Trust Co. raised its holdings in Altria Group by 9.3% in the first quarter. Legacy Private Trust Co. now owns 83,386 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,955,000 after acquiring an additional 7,068 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. raised its holdings in Altria Group by 1.7% in the first quarter. Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. now owns 145,610 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,399,000 after acquiring an additional 2,450 shares in the last quarter. 61.89% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Several analysts recently issued reports on MO shares. BidaskClub raised shares of Altria Group from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. Jefferies Group LLC set a $67.00 price target on shares of Altria Group and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, August 24th. Vetr cut shares of Altria Group from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.00 price target on the stock. in a report on Wednesday, September 6th. Royal Bank Of Canada raised shares of Altria Group from an “underperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating and set a $62.00 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 11th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the stock. Altria Group currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $71.81.

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

Altria Group (MO) traded up 0.18% during trading on Friday, hitting $62.39. 16,567,304 shares of the stock traded hands. Altria Group has a one year low of $60.01 and a one year high of $77.79. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $64.15 and a 200 day moving average price of $71.24. The stock has a market cap of $120.29 billion, a PE ratio of 8.23 and a beta of 0.63.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The company reported $0.85 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.86 by ($0.01). The company had revenue of $4.37 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate 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 was up 3.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.81 earnings per share. Analysts expect that Altria Group will post $3.26 earnings per share for the current year.

Altria Group announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share buyback plan on Thursday, July 27th that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to purchase up to 0.7% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 10th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.66 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. This is a boost from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. This represents a $2.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.23%. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 32.19%.

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.

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

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