Usca Ria LLC Acquires 15,267 Shares of Altria (MO)

Usca Ria LLC increased its holdings in shares of Altria (NYSE:MO) by 8.9% in the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 186,826 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 15,267 shares during the period. Altria accounts for about 1.3% of Usca Ria LLC’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 10th biggest holding. Usca Ria LLC’s holdings in Altria were worth $11,643,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of MO. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA increased its stake in Altria by 60.9% in the first quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 14,636,235 shares of the company’s stock valued at $912,131,000 after purchasing an additional 5,542,534 shares in the last quarter. USS Investment Management Ltd bought a new stake in Altria in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $269,661,000. Mackenzie Financial Corp increased its stake in Altria by 433.5% in the fourth quarter. Mackenzie Financial Corp now owns 3,151,406 shares of the company’s stock valued at $225,042,000 after purchasing an additional 2,560,678 shares in the last quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in Altria by 550.5% in the fourth quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. now owns 2,449,706 shares of the company’s stock valued at $174,933,000 after purchasing an additional 2,073,131 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. increased its stake in Altria by 17.7% in the first quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 11,564,981 shares of the company’s stock valued at $720,730,000 after purchasing an additional 1,736,849 shares in the last quarter. 63.09% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

In related news, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 3,200 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, March 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.34, for a total transaction of $199,488.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director Mark Newman bought 5,345 shares of Altria stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 30th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $56.19 per share, with a total value of $300,335.55. Following the acquisition, the director now directly owns 6,022 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $338,376.18. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

Several brokerages have commented on MO. Vetr raised shares of Altria from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $71.45 target price for the company in a research note on Monday, February 5th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Altria from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, March 6th. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a “sector perform” rating and issued a $62.00 target price (down previously from $65.00) on shares of Altria in a research note on Monday, February 5th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Altria from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, April 23rd. Finally, Argus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $79.00 target price (up previously from $66.13) on shares of Altria in a research note on Wednesday, March 14th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating, ten have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $73.42.

Altria stock opened at $55.46 on Tuesday. The company has a market capitalization of $105.12 billion, a PE ratio of 16.41, a P/E/G ratio of 1.62 and a beta of 0.63. Altria has a twelve month low of $53.91 and a twelve month high of $77.79. The company has a quick ratio of 0.34, a current ratio of 0.65 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.85.

Altria (NYSE:MO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 26th. The company reported $0.95 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.93 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $4.67 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.63 billion. Altria had a net margin of 41.85% and a return on equity of 49.92%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 1.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.73 earnings per share. equities research analysts predict that Altria will post 4 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Altria declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback program on Thursday, February 1st that allows the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, July 10th. Investors of record on Friday, June 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.70 per share. This represents a $2.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 5.05%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, June 14th. Altria’s payout ratio is 82.84%.

About Altria

Altria Group, Inc, through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States. It offers cigarettes primarily under the Marlboro brand; cigars principally under the Black & Mild brand; and moist smokeless tobacco products under the Copenhagen, Skoal, Red Seal, and Husky brands.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Altria (NYSE:MO)

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