Short Interest in Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) Grows By 11.7%

Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) was the target of a significant growth in short interest in April. As of April 15th, there was short interest totalling 22,110,080 shares, a growth of 11.7% from the March 29th total of 19,793,292 shares. Approximately 1.2% of the shares of the stock are sold short. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 7,482,320 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 3.0 days.

MO stock traded up $0.32 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $52.35. 5,949,301 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 10,945,807. The company has a market capitalization of $97.38 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.12, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.64 and a beta of 0.35. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.92, a quick ratio of 0.39 and a current ratio of 0.62. Altria Group has a fifty-two week low of $42.40 and a fifty-two week high of $66.04.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The company reported $0.90 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.92 by ($0.02). Altria Group had a net margin of 24.87% and a return on equity of 49.42%. The company had revenue of $4.39 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.60 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.95 EPS. Altria Group’s revenue for the quarter was down 6.0% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that Altria Group will post 4.18 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, July 10th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 14th will be given a dividend of $0.80 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, June 13th. This represents a $3.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 6.11%. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio is currently 80.20%.

Several brokerages recently issued reports on MO. TheStreet raised Altria Group from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Friday, March 29th. ValuEngine upgraded Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, March 21st. Morgan Stanley increased their price target on Altria Group from $45.00 to $49.00 and gave the stock an “underweight” rating in a report on Monday, April 15th. Citigroup set a $52.00 price target on Altria Group and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, March 28th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, April 8th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $62.53.

In other Altria Group news, SVP Jody L. Begley sold 3,250 shares of the firm’s 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 sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, VP Ivan S. Feldman sold 6,802 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.18, for a total value of $348,126.36. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of MO. Litman Gregory Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in Altria Group during the 4th quarter valued at $30,000. Country Trust Bank raised its holdings in Altria Group by 86.9% during the 1st quarter. Country Trust Bank now owns 514 shares of the company’s stock valued at $30,000 after acquiring an additional 239 shares during the period. Clean Yield Group bought a new stake in Altria Group during the 4th quarter valued at $32,000. Premia Global Advisors LLC bought a new stake in Altria Group during the 1st quarter valued at $34,000. Finally, Transamerica Financial Advisors Inc. raised its holdings in Altria Group by 627.6% during the 4th quarter. Transamerica Financial Advisors Inc. now owns 713 shares of the company’s stock valued at $36,000 after acquiring an additional 615 shares during the period. 64.18% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

ILLEGAL ACTIVITY WARNING: This piece was reported by Rockland Register and is owned by of Rockland Register. If you are reading this piece on another publication, it was stolen and republished in violation of US & international trademark & copyright laws. The correct version of this piece can be viewed at https://rocklandregister.com/2019/05/18/altria-group-inc-mo-short-interest-update.html.

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.

Read More: What is a bull market?

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.