Altria Group (NYSE:MO) Cut to “Neutral” at Piper Jaffray Companies

Piper Jaffray Companies downgraded shares of Altria Group (NYSE:MO) from an overweight rating to a neutral rating in a research note published on Monday morning, BenzingaRatingsTable reports. Piper Jaffray Companies currently has $49.00 price objective on the stock, down from their prior price objective of $64.00. Piper Jaffray Companies also issued estimates for Altria Group’s Q4 2019 earnings at $1.06 EPS, Q1 2020 earnings at $1.05 EPS, Q2 2020 earnings at $1.14 EPS and Q4 2020 earnings at $1.12 EPS.

MO has been the subject of a number of other reports. ValuEngine lowered shares of Altria Group from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Wednesday, May 29th. TheStreet downgraded Altria Group from a b- rating to a c+ rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 14th. Wells Fargo & Co reiterated a buy rating on shares of Altria Group in a research report on Monday, August 26th. Goldman Sachs Group downgraded Altria Group from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $49.86 target price for the company. in a research report on Friday, July 12th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada set a $68.00 target price on Altria Group and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 31st. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company. Altria Group currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $58.57.

MO traded down $0.32 during trading on Monday, reaching $44.40. 347,208 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 10,030,533. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.87, a quick ratio of 0.28 and a current ratio of 0.56. Altria Group has a 12-month low of $42.40 and a 12-month high of $66.04. The firm has a fifty day simple moving average of $46.28 and a 200 day simple moving average of $50.96. The company has a market cap of $82.27 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.14, a PEG ratio of 1.38 and a beta of 0.38.



Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.10 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates 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 firm posted $1.01 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 6.4% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Altria Group will post 4.17 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Altria Group announced that its board has authorized a stock buyback plan on Tuesday, July 30th that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to reacquire up to 1.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, October 10th. Investors of record on Monday, September 16th will be paid a $0.84 dividend. This represents a $3.36 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 7.57%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 13th. This is a boost from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.80. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 80.20%.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. FMR LLC lifted its stake in Altria Group by 68.1% during the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 78,710,352 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,520,337,000 after purchasing an additional 31,883,878 shares during the period. Nuveen Asset Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 584.6% during the second quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 8,679,362 shares of the company’s stock worth $410,968,000 after buying an additional 7,411,523 shares in the last quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 74.0% during the second quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 4,727,202 shares of the company’s stock worth $223,833,000 after buying an additional 2,010,023 shares in the last quarter. Natixis increased its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 428.3% during the second quarter. Natixis now owns 1,846,808 shares of the company’s stock worth $87,447,000 after buying an additional 1,497,259 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Toronto Dominion Bank increased its holdings in shares of Altria Group by 73.2% during the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 2,428,023 shares of the company’s stock worth $114,938,000 after buying an additional 1,026,362 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 63.41% of the company’s stock.

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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