Bahl & Gaynor Inc. Sells 207,929 Shares of Altria (MO)

Bahl & Gaynor Inc. trimmed its position in shares of Altria (NYSE:MO) by 9.6% in the 1st quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The fund owned 1,956,687 shares of the company’s stock after selling 207,929 shares during the quarter. Altria comprises about 1.3% of Bahl & Gaynor Inc.’s holdings, making the stock its 26th biggest position. Bahl & Gaynor Inc.’s holdings in Altria were worth $121,941,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Other large investors have also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Oak Point Wealth Management purchased a new stake in shares of Altria during the fourth quarter worth $120,000. Taylor Hoffman Wealth Management purchased a new stake in shares of Altria during the fourth quarter worth $120,000. Smart Portfolios LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Altria during the first quarter worth $129,000. Pinnacle Wealth Planning Services Inc. bought a new position in Altria during the fourth quarter valued at about $134,000. Finally, Acropolis Investment Management LLC raised its holdings in Altria by 1,202.0% during the fourth quarter. Acropolis Investment Management LLC now owns 1,953 shares of the company’s stock valued at $139,000 after buying an additional 1,803 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 63.09% of the company’s stock.

Altria stock opened at $55.74 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.85, a quick ratio of 0.34 and a current ratio of 0.65. The stock has a market capitalization of $105.48 billion, a PE ratio of 16.49, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.62 and a beta of 0.63. Altria has a 52 week low of $53.91 and a 52 week high of $77.79.

Altria (NYSE:MO) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 26th. The company reported $0.95 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.93 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $4.67 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.63 billion. Altria had a return on equity of 49.92% and a net margin of 41.85%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.73 earnings per share. analysts anticipate that Altria will post 4 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, July 10th. Stockholders of record on Friday, June 15th will be paid a $0.70 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, June 14th. This represents a $2.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 5.02%. Altria’s payout ratio is presently 82.84%.

Altria declared that its board has approved a share repurchase program on Thursday, February 1st that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

Several research firms have weighed in on MO. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Altria from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday. ValuEngine lowered Altria from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Monday, May 14th. Royal Bank of Canada upgraded Altria from a “sector perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a report on Monday, April 30th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Morgan Stanley cut their target price on Altria from $70.00 to $65.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, April 27th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $75.00 target price on Altria and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, April 23rd. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating, ten have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. Altria presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $73.42.

In other Altria news, Director Mark Newman acquired 5,345 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 30th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $56.19 per share, for a total transaction of $300,335.55. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now owns 6,022 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $338,376.18. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

Altria 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 (NYSE:MO)

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