West Branch Capital LLC raised its position in Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) by 42.3% during the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The firm owned 14,195 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 4,219 shares during the quarter. West Branch Capital LLC’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $672,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.
Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Country Trust Bank boosted its position in shares of Altria Group by 86.9% during the 1st quarter. Country Trust Bank now owns 514 shares of the company’s stock worth $30,000 after purchasing an additional 239 shares in the last quarter. HMS Capital Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Altria Group during the 2nd quarter worth $41,000. James Investment Research Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Altria Group during the 1st quarter worth $43,000. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV boosted its position in shares of Altria Group by 113.4% during the 1st quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 783 shares of the company’s stock worth $45,000 after purchasing an additional 416 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Interactive Financial Advisors boosted its position in shares of Altria Group by 166.7% during the 1st quarter. Interactive Financial Advisors now owns 800 shares of the company’s stock worth $46,000 after purchasing an additional 500 shares in the last quarter. 62.72% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
Several equities research analysts have commented on the stock. Morgan Stanley decreased their target price on shares of Altria Group from $48.00 to $44.00 and set an “underweight” rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, August 7th. Citigroup set a $45.00 target price on shares of Altria Group and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, April 26th. Wells Fargo & Co restated a “buy” rating on shares of Altria Group in a research report on Friday, August 9th. Goldman Sachs Group lowered shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $49.86 price objective on the stock. in a research report on Friday, July 12th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada set a $68.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 31st. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $60.74.
Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.10 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.10. The company had revenue of $5.19 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.08 billion. Altria Group had a net margin of 25.04% and a return on equity of 51.53%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 6.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $1.01 EPS. As a group, analysts expect that Altria Group Inc will post 4.17 earnings per share for the current year.
Altria Group declared that its board has initiated a share buyback plan on Tuesday, July 30th that permits the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to purchase up to 1.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are generally an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.
About Altria Group
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.
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