Capital Research & Management Co.. recently announced the acquisition of new stake in Altria Group Inc. (NYSE:MO). The institutional investor has increased its shareholding in the Consumer Defensive company by 16.94% to 96.8 million shares with purchase of 14.02 million shares. This fresh investment now brings its stake to 5.21% valued currently at $3.98 billion. In addition, Geode Capital Management LLC raised its holdings by 1.01 million to 27.31 million shares. And Charles Schwab Investment Managem.. has lifted its position by 17.94% or 3.92 million shares – to 25.78 million shares.

With over 7.82 million Altria Group Inc. (MO) shares trading Monday and a closing price of $43.74 on the day, the dollar volume was approximately $341.9 million. The shares have shown a negative weekly performance of -0.68% and its price on 08/31/20 lost nearly -0.43%. Currently, there are 1.86B common shares owned by the public and among those 1.86B shares have been available to trade.

An analysis of what Wall Street brokers have to say about the expected price targets for this stock gives us this picture: 16 analysts who have offered their price forecasts for MO have a consensus price objective of $49.00. The analysts have set the share’s price value over the next 12 months at a high of $68.00 and a low of $38.00 should the stock experience a downside. Incidentally, analysts’ outlook for the Altria Group Inc. stock is 2.10 for the next 12 months. The average price target is 10.73% above its last price level and an upside to the estimated low will see the stock lose -15.11% over that period. But an upside of 35.68% will see the stock hit the forecast high price target while mean target price for the stock is $47.50.

Insiders at the company have transacted a total of 46 times over the past 12 months, according to data filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 34 of these insider trades were purchases, accounting for 432,574 shares. Insider sales of the common stock occurred on 12 occasions, with total insider shares sold totaling 83,655 shares.

The top 3 mutual fund holders in Altria Group Inc. are Vanguard Total Stock Market Index, Vanguard 500 Index Fund, and American Funds Fundamental Invest. Vanguard Total Stock Market Index owns 52.83 million shares of the company’s stock, all valued at over $2.17 billion. The company sold -0.14 million shares recently to bring their total holdings to about 2.84% of the shares outstanding. Vanguard 500 Index Fund sold -0.23 million shares to see its total holdings shrink to 38.32 million shares valued at over $1.58 billion and representing 2.06% of the shares outstanding. American Funds Fundamental Invest bought 10.31 million shares to bring its total holdings to over 37.67 million shares at a value of $1.55 billion. American Funds Fundamental Invest now owns shares totaling to 2.03% of the shares outstanding.

Shares of Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) opened at $43.88, down -$0.05 from a prior closing price of $43.93. However, the script later closed the day at $43.74, down -0.43%. The company’s stock has a 5-day price change of -0.68% and 10.29% over the past three months. MO shares are trading -12.36% year to date (YTD), with the 12-month market performance down to 0.00% lower. It has a 12-month low price of $30.95 and touched a high of $51.78 over the same period. Currently, 7.82 million shares have been traded, compared to an average intraday trading volume of 7.73 million shares. The stock is trading above its simple moving averages at the SMA20, SMA50, and SMA200, as the current price level is off by 1.94%, 5.49%, and 1.65% respectively.

Institutional ownership of Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) shares accounts for 63.60% of the company’s 1.86B shares outstanding. Mutual fund holders own 25.87%, while other institutional holders and individual stakeholders account for 37.86% and 0.64% respectively.

It has a market capitalization of $80.95B and a beta (3y monthly) value of 0.50. The earnings-per-share (ttm) stands at -$0.46. Price movements for the stock have been influenced by the stock’s volatility, which stands at 1.58% over the week and 1.74% over the month.

Analysts forecast that Altria Group Inc. (MO) will achieve an EPS of $1.14 for the current quarter, $0.99 for the next quarter and $4.56 for 2021. The lowest estimate earnings-per-share for the quarter is $1.1 while analysts give the company a high EPS estimate of $1.17. Comparatively, EPS for the current quarter was $1.19 a year ago. Earnings per share for the fiscal year are expected to decrease by -117.20%, and 5.70% over the next financial year. EPS should grow at an annualized rate of 6.10% over the next five years, compared to -17.70% over the past 5-year period.

If you are looking to buy this stock, then you may note that the average analyst recommendation by 16 brokerage firm advisors rate Altria Group Inc. (MO) as a “Moderate Buy” at a consensus score of 2.10. Specifically, 9 Wall Street analysts polled rate the stock as a buy, while 6 of the 16 advise that investors “hold,” and 0 rated it as a “Sell.”

Looking at the support for the MO, a number of firms have released research notes about the stock. Barclays stated their Equal Weight rating for the stock in a research note on July 08, 2020, with the firm’s price target at $43. Goldman coverage for the Altria Group Inc. (MO) stock in a research note released on April 01, 2020 offered a Neutral rating with a price target of $35. Morgan Stanley was of a view on March 16, 2020 that the stock is Overweight, while Piper Sandler gave the stock Overweight rating on January 31, 2020, issuing a price target of $52- $57. Citigroup on their part issued Buy rating on December 02, 2019.