Berenberg Bank Reiterates “Hold” Rating for Altria Group (MO)

Altria Group (NYSE:MO)‘s stock had its “hold” rating reaffirmed by stock analysts at Berenberg Bank in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday.

A number of other equities analysts also recently commented on MO. Cowen and Company restated a “hold” rating and set a $74.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. Jefferies Group LLC restated a “hold” rating and set a $70.00 price objective (down previously from $71.00) on shares of Altria Group in a research report on Monday, July 17th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $76.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 27th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $72.06.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last issued its quarterly earnings results 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 firm had revenue of $5.10 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.22 billion. Altria Group had a net margin of 60.37% and a return on equity of 49.43%. Altria Group’s quarterly revenue was down 1.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.82 EPS.

Altria Group declared that its board has authorized a stock buyback plan on Thursday, July 27th that allows the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to repurchase up to 0.7% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

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In other Altria Group news, Director Dinyar S. Devitre sold 32,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.22, for a total transaction of $1,959,040.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total transaction of $994,959.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 701,074 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $45,590,842.22. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Cadinha & Co. LLC increased its holdings in Altria Group by 34.8% during the 2nd quarter. Cadinha & Co. LLC now owns 9,301 shares of the company’s stock valued at $693,000 after acquiring an additional 2,401 shares in the last quarter. Meag Munich Ergo Kapitalanlagegesellschaft MBH increased its holdings in Altria Group by 164.9% during the 2nd quarter. Meag Munich Ergo Kapitalanlagegesellschaft MBH now owns 244,398 shares of the company’s stock valued at $18,149,000 after acquiring an additional 152,121 shares in the last quarter. LMR Partners LLP purchased a new position in Altria Group during the 2nd quarter valued at about $1,120,000. Westwood Holdings Group Inc. increased its holdings in Altria Group by 10.3% during the 1st quarter. Westwood Holdings Group Inc. now owns 155,121 shares of the company’s stock valued at $11,079,000 after acquiring an additional 14,444 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Teacher Retirement System of Texas boosted its stake in shares of Altria Group by 4.6% during the 2nd quarter. Teacher Retirement System of Texas now owns 1,763,350 shares of the company’s stock worth $131,317,000 after purchasing an additional 76,988 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 61.92% of the company’s stock.

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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