Essex Financial Services Inc. Sells 3,868 Shares of Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO)

Essex Financial Services Inc. reduced its stake in Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) by 7.3% during the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The fund owned 48,763 shares of the company’s stock after selling 3,868 shares during the quarter. Essex Financial Services Inc.’s holdings in Altria Group were worth $2,800,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other large investors also recently modified their holdings of the company. Litman Gregory Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in Altria Group in the 4th quarter valued at about $30,000. Country Trust Bank increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 86.9% in the first quarter. Country Trust Bank now owns 514 shares of the company’s stock worth $30,000 after purchasing an additional 239 shares during the last quarter. Transamerica Financial Advisors Inc. increased its position in shares of Altria Group by 627.6% in the fourth quarter. Transamerica Financial Advisors Inc. now owns 713 shares of the company’s stock worth $36,000 after purchasing an additional 615 shares during the last quarter. James Investment Research Inc. bought a new position in shares of Altria Group in the first quarter worth approximately $43,000. Finally, Clarfeld Financial Advisors LLC bought a new position in shares of Altria Group in the fourth quarter worth approximately $44,000. 64.48% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Several research analysts recently weighed in on MO shares. Bank of America upped their price objective on shares of Altria Group from $56.00 to $66.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, March 20th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, March 21st. Citigroup set a $52.00 price objective on shares of Altria Group and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, March 28th. TheStreet upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Friday, March 29th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Altria Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, April 8th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company. Altria Group currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $61.91.

In other news, SVP Jody L. Begley sold 3,250 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.38, for a total transaction of $173,485.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.48, for a total value of $104,960.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

MO traded up $0.42 during midday trading on Monday, hitting $47.77. The stock had a trading volume of 7,173,700 shares, compared to its average volume of 10,300,724. The stock has a market capitalization of $89.49 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.97, a P/E/G ratio of 1.48 and a beta of 0.39. The company’s fifty day moving average is $50.50. 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 Inc has a 1 year low of $42.40 and a 1 year high of $66.04.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The company reported $0.90 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.92 by ($0.02). The firm had revenue of $4.39 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.60 billion. Altria Group had a return on equity of 49.42% and a net margin of 24.87%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 6.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.95 EPS. On average, research analysts expect that Altria Group Inc will post 4.18 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, July 10th. Stockholders of record on Friday, June 14th will be paid a dividend of $0.80 per share. This represents a $3.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 6.70%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, June 13th. Altria Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 80.20%.

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

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