Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Altria Group (MO) to “Buy”

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday. The firm presently has a $71.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price would suggest a potential upside of 9.21% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Altria have underperformed the industry in the last three months, owing to declining demand of tobacco. The ongoing anti-tobacco campaigns and price rise to offset surging taxes have been hurting the demand for tobacco. Nevertheless, we believe the company’s shift to low-risk, smokeless tobacco products to boost market share remains appealing. Altria has proactively responded to the changing market scenario toward low-risk tobacco products and offered several reduced risk tobacco products which helped it to maintain market share. MarkTen e-cigarette and Green Smoke e-vapor are few flagship products belonging to this category. Further, Altria is expected to sell Philip Morris’s iQOS heated tobacco product in the domestic market, once it gains approval from the FDA. The company is also on track with its cost-reduction initiatives and consolidation of certain manufacturing facilities to streamline operations.”

Several other research firms have also recently issued reports on MO. Vetr cut shares of Altria Group from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.00 price target on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, September 6th. BidaskClub raised shares of Altria Group from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Royal Bank Of Canada raised shares of Altria Group from an “underperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating and set a $62.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Cowen and Company reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Sunday, September 10th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $80.00 price target on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Monday, July 31st. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating, seven have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $71.53.

Altria Group (MO) opened at 65.01 on Wednesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $125.34 billion, a P/E ratio of 8.57 and a beta of 0.64. Altria Group has a 1-year low of $60.01 and a 1-year high of $77.79. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $63.21 and a 200 day moving average of $69.68.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The company reported $0.85 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.86 by ($0.01). The business had revenue of $4.37 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.02 billion. Altria Group had a net margin of 56.98% and a return on equity of 59.50%. Altria Group’s revenue was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.81 earnings per share. On average, analysts expect that Altria Group will post $3.26 earnings per share for the current year.

Altria Group declared that its board has approved a share repurchase program on Thursday, July 27th that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to reacquire up to 0.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

WARNING: “Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Altria Group (MO) to “Buy”” was published by The Ledger Gazette and is the sole property of of The Ledger Gazette. If you are reading this piece on another website, it was illegally stolen and reposted in violation of United States and international copyright laws. The original version of this piece can be accessed at https://ledgergazette.com/2017/10/11/zacks-investment-research-upgrades-altria-group-mo-to-buy.html.

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

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of MO. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. lifted its stake in Altria Group by 133.3% in the first quarter. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. now owns 1,400 shares of the company’s stock valued at $100,000 after buying an additional 800 shares during the last quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC lifted its stake in Altria Group by 65.7% in the second quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,405 shares of the company’s stock valued at $105,000 after buying an additional 557 shares during the last quarter. CKW Financial Group bought a new stake in Altria Group in the second quarter valued at $109,000. Balentine LLC lifted its stake in Altria Group by 32.4% in the second quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 1,460 shares of the company’s stock valued at $109,000 after buying an additional 357 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Perigon Wealth Management LLC lifted its stake in Altria Group by 4.7% in the first quarter. Perigon Wealth Management LLC now owns 1,641 shares of the company’s stock valued at $118,000 after buying an additional 74 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 61.85% of the company’s stock.

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According to Zacks, “Shares of Altria have underperformed the industry in the last three months, owing to declining demand of tobacco. The ongoing anti-tobacco campaigns and price rise to offset surging taxes have been hurting the demand for tobacco. Nevertheless, we believe the company’s shift to low-risk, smokeless tobacco products to boost market share remains appealing. Altria has proactively responded to the changing market scenario toward low-risk tobacco products and offered several reduced risk tobacco products which helped it to maintain market share. MarkTen e-cigarette and Green Smoke e-vapor are few flagship products belonging to this category. Further, Altria is expected to sell Philip Morris’s iQOS heated tobacco product in the domestic market, once it gains approval from the FDA. The company is also on track with its cost-reduction initiatives and consolidation of certain manufacturing facilities to streamline operations.”

Several other research firms have also recently issued reports on MO. Vetr cut shares of Altria Group from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.00 price target on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, September 6th. BidaskClub raised shares of Altria Group from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Royal Bank Of Canada raised shares of Altria Group from an “underperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating and set a $62.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Cowen and Company reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Sunday, September 10th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $80.00 price target on shares of Altria Group in a research note on Monday, July 31st. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating, seven have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $71.53.

Altria Group (MO) opened at 65.01 on Wednesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $125.34 billion, a P/E ratio of 8.57 and a beta of 0.64. Altria Group has a 1-year low of $60.01 and a 1-year high of $77.79. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $63.21 and a 200 day moving average of $69.68.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The company reported $0.85 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.86 by ($0.01). The business had revenue of $4.37 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.02 billion. Altria Group had a net margin of 56.98% and a return on equity of 59.50%. Altria Group’s revenue was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.81 earnings per share. On average, analysts expect that Altria Group will post $3.26 earnings per share for the current year.

Altria Group declared that its board has approved a share repurchase program on Thursday, July 27th that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to reacquire up to 0.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

WARNING: “Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Altria Group (MO) to “Buy”” was published by The Ledger Gazette and is the sole property of of The Ledger Gazette. If you are reading this piece on another website, it was illegally stolen and reposted in violation of United States and international copyright laws. The original version of this piece can be accessed at https://ledgergazette.com/2017/10/11/zacks-investment-research-upgrades-altria-group-mo-to-buy.html.

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

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of MO. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. lifted its stake in Altria Group by 133.3% in the first quarter. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. now owns 1,400 shares of the company’s stock valued at $100,000 after buying an additional 800 shares during the last quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC lifted its stake in Altria Group by 65.7% in the second quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,405 shares of the company’s stock valued at $105,000 after buying an additional 557 shares during the last quarter. CKW Financial Group bought a new stake in Altria Group in the second quarter valued at $109,000. Balentine LLC lifted its stake in Altria Group by 32.4% in the second quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 1,460 shares of the company’s stock valued at $109,000 after buying an additional 357 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Perigon Wealth Management LLC lifted its stake in Altria Group by 4.7% in the first quarter. Perigon Wealth Management LLC now owns 1,641 shares of the company’s stock valued at $118,000 after buying an additional 74 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 61.85% 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.

Analyst Recommendations for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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