Altria (NYSE:MO) issued an update on its FY18 earnings guidance on Thursday morning. The company provided earnings per share (EPS) guidance of $3.90-4.03 for the period, compared to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $3.97.

MO opened at $56.13 on Friday. Altria has a twelve month low of $54.23 and a twelve month high of $77.79. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.85, a current ratio of 0.65 and a quick ratio of 0.31. The stock has a market cap of $104,087.59, a P/E ratio of 16.61, a P/E/G ratio of 1.59 and a beta of 0.62.

Altria (NYSE:MO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 26th. The company reported $0.95 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.93 by $0.02. Altria had a net margin of 41.85% and a return on equity of 49.92%. The firm had revenue of $4.67 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.63 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.73 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.8% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts expect that Altria will post 3.99 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, April 10th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th were given a dividend of $0.70 per share. This represents a $2.80 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.99%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 14th. This is an increase from Altria’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.66. Altria’s dividend payout ratio is 82.84%.

Altria declared that its board has authorized a stock repurchase program on Thursday, February 1st that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

A number of analysts have commented on the stock. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Altria from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, January 2nd. Wells Fargo increased their price objective on shares of Altria from $80.00 to $85.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a report on Thursday, January 4th. Jefferies Group upgraded shares of Altria from a hold rating to a buy rating and cut their price objective for the company from $70.04 to $70.00 in a report on Friday, January 19th. Vetr downgraded shares of Altria from a hold rating to a sell rating and set a $68.17 price objective for the company. in a report on Monday, January 22nd. Finally, Piper Jaffray increased their price objective on shares of Altria from $76.00 to $81.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating, nine have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. Altria presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $73.42.

In related news, CEO Brian W. Quigley sold 3,464 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.40, for a total transaction of $216,153.60. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 3,200 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.34, for a total transaction of $199,488.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 28,117 shares of company stock valued at $1,821,707. Corporate insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of MO. Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its position in Altria by 21,647.0% in the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 19,831,702 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,476,867,000 after buying an additional 19,740,509 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in Altria by 7.6% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 127,525,988 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,496,859,000 after buying an additional 8,969,677 shares during the period. Capital World Investors boosted its position in Altria by 27.6% in the 2nd quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 41,157,755 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,065,018,000 after buying an additional 8,914,575 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in Altria by 2.0% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 136,023,361 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,129,659,000 after buying an additional 2,690,270 shares during the period. Finally, Thrivent Financial For Lutherans boosted its position in Altria by 1,248.7% in the 2nd quarter. Thrivent Financial For Lutherans now owns 980,753 shares of the company’s stock valued at $73,036,000 after buying an additional 908,033 shares during the period. 62.53% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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.

Earnings History and Estimates for Altria (NYSE:MO)

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