Nippon Life Insurance Co. trimmed its holdings in Altria Group (NYSE:MO) by 6.9% in the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 57,294 shares of the company’s stock after selling 4,228 shares during the quarter. Nippon Life Insurance Co.’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $4,267,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
Other hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of the company. Swiss National Bank boosted its position in shares of Altria Group by 25.1% during the 1st quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 7,486,394 shares of the company’s stock valued at $534,678,000 after acquiring an additional 1,501,400 shares during the last quarter. Karp Capital Management Corp bought a new position in shares of Altria Group during the 1st quarter valued at approximately $104,292,000. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board boosted its position in shares of Altria Group by 20.7% during the 2nd quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 4,586,398 shares of the company’s stock valued at $341,549,000 after acquiring an additional 787,000 shares during the last quarter. State Street Corp boosted its position in shares of Altria Group by 0.9% during the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 74,624,722 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,329,771,000 after acquiring an additional 687,246 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Stevens Capital Management LP bought a new position in shares of Altria Group during the 1st quarter valued at approximately $39,943,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 61.92% of the company’s stock.
Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The company reported $0.90 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $5.10 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.22 billion. Altria Group had a return on equity of 49.43% and a net margin of 60.37%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.82 earnings per share.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, October 10th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 15th were paid a dividend of $0.66 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $2.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.11%. This is a positive change from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. Altria Group’s payout ratio is 33.04%.
Altria Group declared that its board has authorized a share buyback program on Thursday, July 27th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to reacquire up to 0.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.
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In other Altria Group news, Director Dinyar S. Devitre sold 32,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.22, for a total transaction of $1,959,040.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total value of $994,959.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 701,074 shares in the company, valued at approximately $45,590,842.22. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.
A number of research firms have recently commented on MO. Edward Jones upgraded Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday. Berenberg Bank reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Altria Group in a research report on Tuesday. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $73.00 target price for the company in a research report on Tuesday. Citigroup Inc. lowered their target price on Altria Group from $80.00 to $75.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Monday. Finally, Vetr downgraded Altria Group from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $71.89 target price for the company. in a research report on Monday. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $72.06.
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.
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