Stock traders buy large volume of call options on Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE:MO – Get Rating) was the target of unusually heavy options trading activity on Friday. Equity investors bought 41,961 call options on the company. This represents a 41% increase from the average volume of 29,710 call options.

Hedge funds weigh on Altria Group

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of MO. Loomis Sayles & Co. LP bought a new position in Altria Group stock during Q1 valued at around $25,000. Bromfield Sneider Wealth Advisors acquired a new equity stake in Altria Group during the first quarter worth approximately $27,000. DB Wealth Management Group LLC increased its stake in Altria Group by 286.2% in the first quarter. DB Wealth Management Group LLC now owns 587 shares of the company valued at $31,000 after acquiring an additional 435 shares during the period. Reitz Capital Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Altria Group in the first quarter worth approximately $31,000. Finally, Rinkey Investments purchased a new stake in shares of Altria Group during the fourth quarter worth approximately $30,000. Institutional investors hold 59.05% of the company’s shares.

Altria Group price performance

MO shares opened at $45.47 on Friday. Altria Group has a one-year low of $41.00 and a one-year high of $57.05. The company has a 50-day moving average of $43.67 and a 200-day moving average of $49.61. The company has a market capitalization of $81.88 billion, a P/E ratio of 46.88, a P/E/G ratio of 2.34 and a beta of 0.62.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO – Get Rating) last announced its results on Thursday, July 28. The company reported earnings per share (EPS) of $1.26 for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.25 by $0.01. Altria Group had a net margin of 6.88% and a negative return on equity of 488.86%. The company posted revenue of $5.37 billion in the quarter, versus analyst estimates of $5.42 billion. In the same period a year earlier, the company posted earnings per share of $1.23. Altria Group revenue for the quarter was down 4.3% year-on-year. As a group, research analysts expect Altria Group to post earnings per share of 4.86 for the current financial year.

A Wall Street analyst gives his opinion

Several analysts have recently commented on the stock. Barclays downgraded Altria Group shares from an ‘equal weight’ rating to an ‘underweight’ rating and lowered its price target for the company from $53.00 to $36.00 in a report research on Wednesday, June 29. Cowen cut his price target on Altria Group shares from $56.00 to $45.00 and set a “market performance” rating on the stock in a Monday, June 27 research note. downgraded shares of Altria Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a Saturday, August 6 report. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft lowered its price target on Altria Group shares from $60.00 to $46.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a Friday, July 1 report. Finally, Bank of America cut its price target on Altria Group shares from $50.00 to $45.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a Friday, July 8 research report. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned the stock a buy rating. According to, Altria Group currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $47.00.

Altria Group Company Profile

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Altria Group, Inc, through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells smoking and oral tobacco products in the United States. The company provides cigarettes primarily under the Marlboro brand; cigars and pipe tobacco primarily under the Black & Mild brand; and moist smokeless tobacco products under the Copenhagen, Skoal, Red Seal and Husky brands, as well as supply on! oral nicotine sachets.

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