Altria Group, Inc. (MO) Showing Air Of Cautious Optimism?

On 06 December, shares of Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE:MO) closed lower after a volatile session. The shares dropped 0 points or 0 percent at $54.4 with a heavy trade volume of 12.146 million shares. After opening the session at $54.4, the shares went as high as $55.05 and as low as $53.185, the range within which the stock’s price traded throughout the day. The firm is left with a market cap of $104 billion and now has 1.92 billion shares outstanding. Altria Group, Inc. (MO) stock has lost -15.83 percent of market value in 21 trading days.

MO stock has a trailing 3-year beta of 0.43, offering the possibility of a lower rate of return, but also posing less risk. The portion of a company’s profit allocated to each outstanding share of common stock was $3.92 a share in the trailing twelve months. The stock’s value has fallen -23.82 percent year to date (YTD) against a decline of -22.49 percent in 12 month’s time. The company’s shares still trade -26.86 percent away from its 1-year high of $74.38 and 2.84 percent up from 52-week low of $52.90. The average consensus rating on the company is 2.2, on a scale where 5 equates to a unanimous sell rating. In short, the mean analyst recommendations are calling this stock a sell.

Altria Group, Inc. (MO) will probably climb 20.99 percent over the next 12 months, according to price target estimates compiled by finviz. Meanwhile, they have set a $75-month high price target. This represents a whopping 37.87 percent increase from where shares are trading today. The 12-month median price target assigned by the analysts stands at $65.5, which represents a return potential of 20.4 percent when compared to the closing price of the stock of $54.4 on Thursday, December 06. The lowest price target for the stock is $56 — slightly more than 2.94 percent from MO’s current share price.

History has shown that shares in Altria Group, Inc. have gone down on 19 different earnings reaction days and are predicted to add 0.01 percent when the company reports upcoming earnings. Investors will get their next glimpse of MO’s Q4 earnings on January 31. Analysts are forecasting revenue to climb 3 percent to $4.86B in the fiscal fourth quarter, while earnings are seen soaring by nearly 5.49 percent to $0.96 per share. It earned $1.08 per share, better than the $1.07, adjusted, expected by Thomson Reuters consensus estimate. Revenue was $5.29B, better than the $5.21B analysts expected. Earnings are estimated to increase by -51.1 percent this year, 8.02 percent next year and continue to increase by 9.71 percent annually for the next 5 years.

Let’s take a look at some insider activity at Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE:MO) and see the pattern. The earliest insider trade took place on 08/29/2018. Devitre Dinyar S parted with a total of 3.17 thousand shares of company at average share price of $58.44. The total for the sales was set at $184.96 thousand. After this transaction, the Director account balance stood at 91.08 thousand shares. The stock lost -6.91 percent since that insider sale. On 04/30/2018, Newman Mark, Director, purchased 5.35 thousand shares at a price per share of $56.19. This added 300.34 thousand shares to the insider’s fortune and the stock saw a -3.19 percent retreat in value since the news became public. This transaction left 6.02 thousand shares in the Director account.

On 03/02/2018, President & CEO, USSTC Quigley Brian W. performed a sale transaction worth $216.15 thousand. This sale at $62.4 each has eliminated 3.46 thousand shares from the insider’s portfolio position. Meanwhile, shares have recorded -12.82 percent decrease since the transaction was reported. The insider now is left with 41.59 thousand shares remaining in the account. Surgner W Hildebrandt Jr, who performs the VP, Corp.Secy. & Assoc. GC job, sold 3.2 thousand shares for $199.49 thousand. The disposal occurred on 03/02/2018 was priced at $62.34 per share. The share price plunged -12.74 percent since the reporting date. Surgner W Hildebrandt Jr now left with a stake of 26.83 thousand MO stock worth $1.46 million after the insider selling.

The stock is currently hovering around the first support level of $53.37. Below this, the next support is placed in the zone of $52.35. Till the time, the MO stock trades above this level, bulls have nothing to fear. On momentum oscillators front, ‘RSI’ has touched 34.43 on daily chart, which may remain a cause for comfort. If the price breaks below $52.35 level on closing basis, then we may see more profit booking and the stock may show further weakness. On the flipside, hitting the $55.24 mark may result into a pull-back move towards $56.08 level.

Shares of Altria Group, Inc. (MO) are trading at a P/E ratio of 8.25 times earnings reported for the past 12 months. The industry MO operates in has an average P/E of 30.07. Its P/E ratio went as low as 9.29X and as high as 21.82 over the 5-year span.Further, it is sporting a 4.11 on the Price-to-Sales ratio. Compare this with the industry average P/S of 3.93. 48.7 percent is the gross profit margin for Altria Group, Inc. and operating margin sits at 37.4 percent. Along with this, the net profit margin is 42.1 percent.