Altria Group (NYSE:MO) Lifted to “Buy” at Goldman Sachs Group

Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Thursday morning, BenzingaRatingsTable reports. They currently have $59.00 price objective on the stock.

Several other brokerages have also commented on MO. Bank of America boosted their price target on Altria Group from $56.00 to $66.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 20th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Wix.Com from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Monday, April 8th. Morgan Stanley decreased their price target on Wells Fargo & Co from $55.00 to $51.00 and set an equal weight rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, April 15th. Citigroup set a $221.00 price target on 3M and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Friday, April 26th. Finally, ValuEngine raised USINAS SIDERURG/S from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 29th. Three equities research 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. Altria Group has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $60.91.

Shares of NYSE:MO opened at $49.50 on Thursday. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $49.76. The stock has a market cap of $92.61 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.41, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.55 and a beta of 0.39. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.92, a current ratio of 0.62 and a quick ratio of 0.39. Altria Group has a 12 month low of $42.40 and a 12 month high of $66.04.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The company reported $0.90 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.92 by ($0.02). The firm had revenue of $4.39 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.60 billion. Altria Group had a return on equity of 49.42% and a net margin of 24.87%. Altria Group’s revenue was down 6.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.95 EPS. On average, sell-side analysts expect that Altria Group will post 4.17 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, July 10th. Investors of record on Friday, June 14th were paid a $0.80 dividend. This represents a $3.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 6.46%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, June 13th. Altria Group’s 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 on 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 document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, SVP Jody L. Begley sold 3,250 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, May 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.38, for a total value of $173,485.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.11% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Country Trust Bank lifted its stake in shares of Altria Group by 86.9% during the 1st quarter. Country Trust Bank now owns 514 shares of the company’s stock worth $30,000 after purchasing an additional 239 shares during the period. HMS Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Altria Group during the 2nd quarter worth $41,000. James Investment Research Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Altria Group during the 1st quarter worth $43,000. Clarfeld Financial Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Altria Group during the 4th quarter worth $44,000. Finally, Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV increased its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 113.4% during the 1st quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 783 shares of the company’s stock worth $45,000 after buying an additional 416 shares during the last quarter. 64.48% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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Analyst Recommendations for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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