Zweig DiMenna Associates LLC raised its stake in Altria Group (NYSE:MO) by 75.3% during the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 12,800 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 5,500 shares during the period. Zweig DiMenna Associates LLC’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $914,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

A number of other large investors have also made changes to their positions in MO. Hartford Financial Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Altria Group by 25.4% in the first quarter. Hartford Financial Management Inc. now owns 4,542 shares of the company’s stock worth $324,000 after buying an additional 920 shares in the last quarter. Washington Trust Bank increased its stake in shares of Altria Group by 495.6% in the first quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 105,680 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,548,000 after buying an additional 87,937 shares in the last quarter. SPC Financial Inc. increased its stake in shares of Altria Group by 1.8% in the first quarter. SPC Financial Inc. now owns 11,150 shares of the company’s stock worth $796,000 after buying an additional 200 shares in the last quarter. Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. increased its stake in shares of Altria Group by 1.7% in the first quarter. Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. now owns 145,610 shares of the company’s stock worth $10,399,000 after buying an additional 2,450 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Reilly Financial Advisors LLC increased its stake in shares of Altria Group by 4.1% in the first quarter. Reilly Financial Advisors LLC now owns 29,960 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,140,000 after buying an additional 1,188 shares in the last quarter. 61.89% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) traded down 0.45% on Thursday, hitting $63.76. 1,919,098 shares of the company were exchanged. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $68.44 and a 200-day moving average of $72.24. The stock has a market cap of $122.93 billion, a PE ratio of 8.41 and a beta of 0.61. Altria Group has a 52-week low of $60.01 and a 52-week high of $77.79.

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

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 10th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be given a $0.66 dividend. This represents a $2.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.12%. This is a boost from Altria Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio is currently 32.19%.

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

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A number of equities research analysts have commented on MO shares. BidaskClub raised shares of Altria Group from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report 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 objective on the stock in a research report on Monday, July 31st. Cowen and Company set a $78.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, July 28th. Wells Fargo & Company reissued an “outperform” rating and issued a $80.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group in a research report on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC set a $67.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 24th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating, seven have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $72.47.

In other news, CEO Martin J. Barrington sold 15,300 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total value of $994,959.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 701,074 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $45,590,842.22. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 0.11% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

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.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

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