Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) Increases Dividend to $0.84 Per Share

Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) declared a quarterly dividend on Thursday, August 22nd, Zacks reports. Shareholders of record on Monday, September 16th will be given a dividend of 0.84 per share on Thursday, October 10th. This represents a $3.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 7.58%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, September 13th. This is a positive change from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.80.

Altria Group has increased its dividend payment by an average of 10.4% annually over the last three years and has increased its dividend every year for the last 10 years. Altria Group has a payout ratio of 84.0% indicating that its dividend is currently covered by earnings, but may not be in the future if the company’s earnings decline. Research analysts expect Altria Group to earn $4.47 per share next year, which means the company should continue to be able to cover its $3.36 annual dividend with an expected future payout ratio of 75.2%.

Shares of MO traded up $0.11 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $44.35. 501,145 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 11,609,659. The stock has a fifty day simple moving average of $46.40 and a 200 day simple moving average of $51.00. Altria Group has a 12-month low of $42.40 and a 12-month high of $66.04. The company has a quick ratio of 0.28, a current ratio of 0.56 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.87. The firm has a market cap of $82.27 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.14, a P/E/G ratio of 1.38 and a beta of 0.38.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.10 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.10. Altria Group had a net margin of 25.04% and a return on equity of 51.53%. The business had revenue of $5.19 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.08 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.01 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 6.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts expect that Altria Group will post 4.17 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Altria Group announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share buyback program on Tuesday, July 30th that allows the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to purchase up to 1.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

A number of equities analysts have issued reports on MO shares. Wells Fargo & Co reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Altria Group in a research report on Monday, August 26th. 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 note on Wednesday, July 31st. Morgan Stanley upgraded shares of Altria Group from an “underweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and set a $44.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Friday, August 23rd. 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 report on Friday, July 12th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies lowered shares of Altria Group from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and cut their target price for the company from $64.00 to $49.00 in a research note on Monday. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $58.57.

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.

Featured Story: How Investors Use a Balance Sheet

Dividend History for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

Receive News & Ratings for Altria Group Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Altria Group and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.