Wetherby Asset Management Inc. trimmed its position in Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) by 8.4% during the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 29,850 shares of the company’s stock after selling 2,747 shares during the quarter. Wetherby Asset Management Inc.’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $1,413,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Several other hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of MO. Country Trust Bank increased its stake in Altria Group by 86.9% during the first quarter. Country Trust Bank now owns 514 shares of the company’s stock worth $30,000 after acquiring an additional 239 shares during the last quarter. HMS Capital Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Altria Group during the second quarter valued at approximately $41,000. James Investment Research Inc. bought a new position in shares of Altria Group during the first quarter valued at approximately $43,000. Clarfeld Financial Advisors LLC bought a new position in shares of Altria Group during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $44,000. Finally, Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV grew its stake in shares of Altria Group by 113.4% during the first quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 783 shares of the company’s stock valued at $45,000 after buying an additional 416 shares during the last quarter. 64.23% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Shares of NYSE MO traded down $0.42 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $46.23. The stock had a trading volume of 3,929,437 shares, compared to its average volume of 6,869,918. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.87, a quick ratio of 0.28 and a current ratio of 0.56. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $49.00. Altria Group Inc has a twelve month low of $42.40 and a twelve month high of $66.04. The stock has a market cap of $87.15 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.59, a PEG ratio of 1.50 and a beta of 0.38.
Altria Group announced that its board has initiated a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, July 30th that permits the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to purchase up to 1.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, July 10th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 14th were given a dividend of $0.80 per share. This represents a $3.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 6.92%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, June 13th. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio is currently 80.20%.
In other Altria Group news, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated 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 filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. 0.11% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
A number of research analysts have recently commented on the company. Royal Bank of Canada set a $68.00 target price on Altria Group and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 31st. Goldman Sachs Group lowered Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $49.86 price target for the company. in a report on Friday, July 12th. ValuEngine lowered Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, May 29th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, April 8th. Finally, Morgan Stanley lowered their target price on Altria Group from $49.00 to $48.00 and set an “underweight” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, July 31st. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $61.07.
Altria Group 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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