Prepare Yourself for Liftoff: Altria Group Inc. (MO)

Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) stock jumped 0.60% on Friday to $43.27 against a previous-day closing price of $43.01. With 7.63 million shares changed hands, the volume of the stock remained lighter than its average volume of 9.52 million shares. During the session, the Tobacco company that operates in wider Consumer Defensive sector, reached to the highest price of $43.67 whereas the lowest price it dropped to was $43.12. The 52-week range on MO shows that it touched its highest point at $57.05 and its lowest point at $41.00 during that stretch. It currently has a 1-year price target of $49.28. With its current market cap of 77.41 billion, MO has annualized dividend of $3.76 while the current yield stands at 8.69%. Beta for the stock currently stands at 0.63.

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Price Performance and Earnings:

Stock performance is one of the indicators that investors use to determine whether they will profit from a stock. The price performance of MO was up-trending over the past week, with a rise of 3.00%, but this was down by -4.96% over a month. Three-month performance surged to 1.79% while six-month performance fell -18.70%. The stock lost -10.30% in the past year, while it has lost -8.69% so far this year. A look at the trailing 12-month EPS for MO yields 0.97 with Next year EPS estimates of 5.09. For the next quarter, that number is 1.31. This implies an EPS growth rate of -44.60% for this year and 4.99% for next year. EPS is expected to grow by 4.26% annually over the next five years; however, over the past five years, the company experienced an annual growth rate of -28.80%.

Float and Shares Shorts:

At present, 1.81 billion MO shares are outstanding with a float of 1.80 billion shares on hand for trading. On Jul 14, 2022, short shares totaled 19.95 million, which was 1.10% higher than short shares on Jun 14, 2022. In addition to Mr. William F. Gifford Jr. as the firm’s CEO & Director, Mr. Salvatore Mancuso serves as its Exec. VP & CFO.

Institutional Ownership:

Through their ownership of 60.53% of MO’s outstanding shares, institutional investors have majority control over the company. Other institutions hold 35.37% of MO, in contrast to 24.71% held by mutual funds. Shares owned by individuals account for 0.69%. As the largest shareholder in MO with 8.36% of the stake, The Vanguard Group, Inc. holds 150,603,948 shares worth 150,603,948. A second-largest stockholder of MO, BlackRock Fund Advisors, holds 100,008,849 shares, controlling over 5.55% of the firm’s shares. Capital Research & Management Co is the third largest shareholder in MO, holding 85,481,126 shares or 4.75% stake. With a 2.98% stake in MO, the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index is the largest stakeholder. A total of 53,616,041 shares are owned by the mutual fund manager. The Vanguard 500 Index Fund, which owns about 2.24% of MO stock, is the second-largest Mutual Fund holder. It holds 40,406,403 shares valued at 1.82 billion. American Funds Income Fund of Ame holds 1.73% of the stake in MO, owning 31,059,800 shares worth 1.4 billion.

Analysts Ratings:

Reading analyst opinions is an effective way to decide where to invest, and there are several opinions available for MO since 18 analysts follow the stock currently. There are 5 analysts who recommend BUY ratings, while 1 suggest SELL ratings. Of the remaining analysts, 11 believe that the stock is worth HOLDING, 1 give it an OVERWEIGHT rating, and 0 thinks that it’s UNDERWEIGHT. In the same way, a target price assigned to a stock can also reveal much about its potential. With MO analysts setting a high price target of $68.00 and a low target of $36.00, the average target price over the next 12 months is $48.83. Based on these targets, MO could surge 57.15% to reach the target high and fall by -16.8% to reach the target low. Reaching the average price target will result in a growth of 12.85% from current levels.

EPS: Estimates vs Actual

It is also common to use earnings estimates to evaluate a firm’s growth potential and to determine trading strategy. MO will report FY 2022 earnings on 02/02/2023. Analysts have provided yearly estimates in a range of $4.92 being high and $4.70 being low. For MO, this leads to a yearly average estimate of $4.84. The earnings surprise of a firm occurs when the actual results change from the consensus earnings estimate. Altria Group Inc. surprised analysts by $0.01 when it reported $1.26 EPS against a consensus estimate of $1.25. The surprise factor in the prior quarter was $0.03. Based on analyst estimates, the high estimate for the next quarter is $1.37 and the low estimate is $1.25. The average estimate for the next quarter is thus $1.31.

Summary of Insider Activity:

Insiders traded MO stock several times over the past three months with 0 Buys and 0 Sells. In these transactions, 0 shares were bought while 0 shares were sold. The number of buy transactions has increased to 29 while that of sell transactions has risen to 11 over the past year. The total number of shares bought during that period was 282,772 while 40,437 shares were sold.

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