Tufton Capital Management Decreases Stock Holdings in Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO)

Tufton Capital Management trimmed its position in shares of Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) by 1.8% in the 2nd quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The institutional investor owned 44,070 shares of the company’s stock after selling 795 shares during the period. Tufton Capital Management’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $2,086,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MO. Grimes & Company Inc. raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 9.3% in the 1st quarter. Grimes & Company Inc. now owns 8,387 shares of the company’s stock valued at $481,000 after purchasing an additional 717 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 68.1% in the 1st quarter. FMR LLC now owns 78,710,352 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,520,337,000 after purchasing an additional 31,883,878 shares during the last quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 78.2% in the 1st quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 347,017 shares of the company’s stock valued at $19,929,000 after purchasing an additional 152,302 shares during the last quarter. Laurel Wealth Advisors Inc. raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 15.4% in the 1st quarter. Laurel Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 54,949 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,156,000 after purchasing an additional 7,339 shares during the last quarter. Finally, 6 Meridian raised its position in shares of Altria Group by 29.1% in the 1st quarter. 6 Meridian now owns 464,466 shares of the company’s stock valued at $26,674,000 after purchasing an additional 104,611 shares during the last quarter. 64.23% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Several brokerages recently commented on MO. Royal Bank of Canada set a $68.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 31st. Morgan Stanley decreased 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, July 31st. Goldman Sachs Group lowered 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. ValuEngine lowered shares of Altria Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 29th. Finally, Citigroup set a $45.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group and gave the company a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, April 26th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company. Altria Group currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $61.07.

In related news, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred 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 filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. 0.11% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

NYSE:MO traded down $0.48 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $45.68. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 4,340,124 shares, compared to its average volume of 6,869,918. Altria Group Inc has a fifty-two week low of $42.40 and a fifty-two week high of $66.04. The company’s 50 day simple moving average is $48.91. 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 company has a market capitalization of $89.54 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.45, a P/E/G ratio of 1.50 and a beta of 0.38.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.10 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.10. Altria Group had a net margin of 25.04% and a return on equity of 51.53%. The company had revenue of $5.19 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.08 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.01 EPS. Altria Group’s quarterly revenue was up 6.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that Altria Group Inc will post 4.17 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, July 10th. Investors of record on Friday, June 14th were issued a $0.80 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, June 13th. This represents a $3.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 7.01%. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 80.20%.

Altria Group announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share 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 reacquire up to 1.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

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

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