Squar Milner Financial Services LLC acquired a new stake in Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) in the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm acquired 16,129 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,126,000. Altria Group accounts for about 1.4% of Squar Milner Financial Services LLC’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 14th largest holding.
A number of other large investors have also recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in Altria Group by 2.0% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 136,023,361 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,129,659,000 after buying an additional 2,690,270 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in Altria Group by 7.6% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 127,525,988 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,496,859,000 after buying an additional 8,969,677 shares in the last quarter. Capital World Investors increased its holdings in Altria Group by 27.6% in the second quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 41,157,755 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,065,018,000 after buying an additional 8,914,575 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its holdings in Altria Group by 7.6% in the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 21,970,538 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,393,372,000 after buying an additional 1,561,120 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Ameriprise Financial Inc. increased its holdings in Altria Group by 5.3% in the second quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 20,802,163 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,550,057,000 after buying an additional 1,040,839 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 62.54% of the company’s stock.
A number of brokerages have issued reports on MO. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $84.00 target price on shares of Altria Group in a report on Thursday, March 15th. Argus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $79.00 target price (up from $66.13) on shares of Altria Group in a report on Wednesday, March 14th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, March 6th. Vetr raised shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $76.87 price objective for the company in a research note on Monday, February 12th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reissued a “sector perform” rating and set a $62.00 price objective (down from $65.00) on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Monday, February 5th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating, nine have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $75.14.
Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $0.91 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.11. The business had revenue of $4.71 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.80 billion. Altria Group had a net margin of 39.97% and a return on equity of 50.01%. The company’s revenue was down .4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.68 EPS. research analysts predict that Altria Group Inc will post 4.01 earnings per share for the current year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 10th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be paid a $0.70 dividend. This is a boost from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.66. This represents a $2.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.67%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. Altria Group’s payout ratio is presently 52.63%.
Altria Group announced that its board has approved a stock buyback program on Thursday, February 1st that permits the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.
In other Altria Group news, CEO Brian W. Quigley sold 3,464 shares of Altria Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.40, for a total value of $216,153.60. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 3,200 shares of Altria Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.34, for a total transaction of $199,488.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 28,117 shares of company stock valued at $1,821,707 over the last ninety days. 0.11% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
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Altria Group Profile
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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