Sterling Investment Management Inc. Sells 393 Shares of Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO)

Sterling Investment Management Inc. lowered its position in Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) by 2.3% in the second quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The fund owned 16,794 shares of the company’s stock after selling 393 shares during the quarter. Sterling Investment Management Inc.’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $795,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other large investors have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Grimes & Company Inc. raised its position in Altria Group by 9.3% in the 1st quarter. Grimes & Company Inc. now owns 8,387 shares of the company’s stock worth $481,000 after purchasing an additional 717 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its position in Altria Group by 68.1% in the 1st quarter. FMR LLC now owns 78,710,352 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,520,337,000 after purchasing an additional 31,883,878 shares during the last quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC raised its position in Altria Group by 78.2% in the 1st quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 347,017 shares of the company’s stock worth $19,929,000 after purchasing an additional 152,302 shares during the last quarter. Laurel Wealth Advisors Inc. raised its position in Altria Group by 15.4% in the 1st quarter. Laurel Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 54,949 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,156,000 after purchasing an additional 7,339 shares during the last quarter. Finally, 6 Meridian raised its position in Altria Group by 29.1% in the 1st quarter. 6 Meridian now owns 464,466 shares of the company’s stock worth $26,674,000 after purchasing an additional 104,611 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 64.24% of the company’s stock.

In other news, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.48, for a total value of $104,960.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. 0.11% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

MO has been the subject of several research analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, April 8th. Morgan Stanley dropped their price objective on shares of Altria Group from $49.00 to $48.00 and set an “underweight” rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday. 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. Goldman Sachs Group cut shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $49.86 price objective for the company. in a research report on Friday, July 12th. Finally, ValuEngine cut shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 29th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $61.07.

MO traded up $0.05 during trading on Friday, reaching $47.93. 7,071,782 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 6,780,856. The firm has a fifty day moving average of $49.20. 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 Inc has a fifty-two week low of $42.40 and a fifty-two week high of $66.04. The firm has a market cap of $89.44 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.01, a PEG ratio of 1.50 and a beta of 0.38.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.10 EPS for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.10. Altria Group had a net margin of 25.04% and a return on equity of 51.53%. The firm had revenue of $5.19 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.08 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.01 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 6.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts forecast that Altria Group Inc will post 4.17 earnings per share for the current year.

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

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, July 10th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 14th were issued a dividend of $0.80 per share. This represents a $3.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 6.68%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, June 13th. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio is presently 80.20%.

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.

Further Reading: Short Selling Stocks, A Beginner’s Guide

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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