Morgan Stanley Cuts Altria Group (NYSE:MO) Price Target to $48.00

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) had its price objective dropped by Morgan Stanley from $49.00 to $48.00 in a research report issued on Wednesday, 24/7 WallStreet reports. The brokerage presently has an “underweight” rating on the stock. Morgan Stanley’s price objective would indicate a potential downside of 0.25% from the company’s previous close.

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on MO. Citigroup set a $45.00 price objective on Altria Group and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, April 26th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, April 8th. Goldman Sachs Group lowered 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, ValuEngine lowered Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 29th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $61.07.

Altria Group stock traded up $0.24 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $48.12. The company had a trading volume of 2,248,876 shares, compared to its average volume of 5,867,016. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.87, a current ratio of 0.56 and a quick ratio of 0.39. Altria Group has a 12-month low of $42.40 and a 12-month high of $66.04. The firm’s fifty day moving average is $49.26. The stock has a market cap of $90.74 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.06, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.52 and a beta of 0.39.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.10 EPS for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.10. Altria Group had a return on equity of 51.12% and a net margin of 25.04%. The business had revenue of $5.19 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.08 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.01 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 6.4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, sell-side analysts expect that Altria Group will post 4.18 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Altria Group declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, July 30th that allows the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to buy up to 1.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.48, for a total transaction of $104,960.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Intellectus Partners LLC boosted its stake in shares of Altria Group by 3.7% during the 4th quarter. Intellectus Partners LLC now owns 5,977 shares of the company’s stock worth $300,000 after acquiring an additional 211 shares in the last quarter. Abner Herrman & Brock LLC increased its stake in shares of Altria Group by 2.3% in the first quarter. Abner Herrman & Brock LLC now owns 9,426 shares of the company’s stock worth $541,000 after purchasing an additional 213 shares during the period. Riverview Trust Co increased its stake in shares of Altria Group by 7.5% in the first quarter. Riverview Trust Co now owns 3,084 shares of the company’s stock worth $177,000 after purchasing an additional 214 shares during the period. Wiley BROS. Aintree Capital LLC increased its stake in shares of Altria Group by 3.5% in the first quarter. Wiley BROS. Aintree Capital LLC now owns 6,535 shares of the company’s stock worth $375,000 after purchasing an additional 222 shares during the period. Finally, Livingston Group Asset Management CO operating as Southport Capital Management increased its stake in shares of Altria Group by 4.7% in the first quarter. Livingston Group Asset Management CO operating as Southport Capital Management now owns 5,124 shares of the company’s stock worth $294,000 after purchasing an additional 229 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 64.24% of the company’s stock.

Altria Group Company Profile

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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Analyst Recommendations for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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