Altria (MO) Expected to Post Earnings of $0.93 Per Share

Wall Street brokerages expect that Altria (NYSE:MO) will announce $0.93 earnings per share for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Four analysts have issued estimates for Altria’s earnings. The highest EPS estimate is $0.96 and the lowest is $0.91. Altria posted earnings per share of $0.73 during the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 27.4%. The company is expected to announce its next quarterly earnings results before the market opens on Thursday, April 26th.

On average, analysts expect that Altria will report full-year earnings of $4.01 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.97 to $4.05. For the next financial year, analysts anticipate that the company will report earnings of $4.40 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $4.32 to $4.48. Zacks Investment Research’s EPS averages are an average based on a survey of sell-side research firms that follow Altria.

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Altria (NYSE:MO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $0.91 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.11. Altria had a net margin of 39.97% and a return on equity of 50.01%. The company had revenue of $4.71 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.80 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.68 EPS. The firm’s revenue was down .4% on a year-over-year basis.

MO has been the subject of several recent analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Altria from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 2nd. Vetr upgraded shares of Altria from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $69.29 price objective for the company in a research report on Thursday, December 28th. Wells Fargo boosted their price objective on shares of Altria from $80.00 to $85.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 4th. Piper Jaffray boosted their price objective on shares of Altria from $76.00 to $81.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, February 2nd. Finally, Jefferies Group upgraded shares of Altria from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and reduced their price objective for the stock from $70.04 to $70.00 in a research report on Friday, January 19th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating, nine have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Altria presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $74.21.

NYSE MO traded down $0.55 on Friday, hitting $57.23. 13,541,905 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 7,947,318. The company has a quick ratio of 0.31, a current ratio of 0.64 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.85. Altria has a fifty-two week low of $56.08 and a fifty-two week high of $77.79. The stock has a market capitalization of $108,762.70, a PE ratio of 16.93, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.66 and a beta of 0.62.

Altria announced that its board has approved a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, February 1st that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, April 10th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th were given a $0.70 dividend. This is an increase from Altria’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.66. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $2.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.89%. Altria’s dividend payout ratio is 82.84%.

In related news, CEO Brian W. Quigley sold 3,464 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, March 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.40, for a total value of $216,153.60. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, VP W Hildebrandt Surgner, Jr. sold 3,200 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, March 2nd. The shares were 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 quarter, insiders sold 28,117 shares of company stock valued at $1,821,707. 0.11% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Green Square Capital LLC raised its position in Altria by 43.8% during the 4th quarter. Green Square Capital LLC now owns 114,439 shares of the company’s stock worth $8,247,000 after buying an additional 34,883 shares during the last quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. raised its position in Altria by 12.9% during the 4th quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 434,555 shares of the company’s stock worth $31,032,000 after buying an additional 49,558 shares during the last quarter. Certified Advisory Corp purchased a new position in Altria during the 4th quarter worth $2,789,000. D.B. Root & Company LLC purchased a new position in Altria during the 4th quarter worth $1,418,000. Finally, Colonial Trust Advisors raised its position in Altria by 14.8% during the 4th quarter. Colonial Trust Advisors now owns 17,942 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,281,000 after buying an additional 2,313 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 62.54% of the company’s stock.

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About Altria

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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Earnings History and Estimates for Altria (NYSE:MO)

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