Altria Group (MO) Shares Tick Up after Upgrade at Bank of America Corporation

Altria Group (NYSE: MO) shares rose in value Wednesday Jan 4 with slower trade volume than normal after a number of analysts weighed in on the investing value of the stock with a upgraded rating.

Meanwhile, U.S. stocks opened higher on Wednesday as banking stocks led the Dow Jones Industrial Average closer to the 20,000 milestone.

The Dow DJIA, +0.18% gained 25 points, or 0.1%, to 19,906. The S&P 500 SPX, +0.36% climbed four points, or 0.2%, to 2,262. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.50% added 13 points, or 0.3%, to 5,447.

Analysts at Bank of America Corporation upgraded shares of Altria Group (NYSE: MO) from Neutral to Buy today. With a rating of Buy on the stock, the company has a 52-week high of $70.15. The one-year price target of $68.36 is higher than the opening price of $68.17, that has caused a fair amount of other analysts to report on the stock recently. Stock prices sometimes get a spike to the upside when analysts upgrade a stock.

Altria Group (NYSE: MO) shares last traded at $68.53, an increase of $0.90 or 0.01 from the previous closing price. Opening at $68.17, they varied from $68.17 and $68.69 throughout the day.

Altria Group (NYSE: MO) currently has a market cap of 133.77B.

Altria Group (NYSE: MO) Average Daily Trading Volume

1,262,031 shares traded hands yesterday, lower than the average, out of a total float 1,949,286,000. lower than normal. Look for trading volume to pick up in the coming days as momentum traders often use upticks in trading volume to identify heavy volume accumulation or distribution by institutional investors.

However, a single day of heavy buy side trading is not enough to assert a trend. As such, market traders will continue to watch for institutional sponsorship as a signal that financial institutions are moving forward.

Institutional sponsorship commonly refers to ownership of a stock by mutual funds, banks, pension funds and other large institutions.

Institutional investors such as these have substantial teams of analysts researching thousands of stocks, so it is good corroboration to see them buying a stock you are researching.

Altria Group (NYSE: MO) Moving Averages

A moving average can also act as support or resistance. In an uptrend a 50-day, 100-day or 200-day moving average may act as a support level, as shown in the figure below.

This is because the average acts like a floor (support), so the price bounces up off of it.

In a downtrend a moving average may act as resistance; like a ceiling, the price hits it and then starts to drop again.

By identifying trends, moving averages allow investors to make those trends work in their favor and increase the number of successful trades.

With that in mind, Altria Group (NYSE: MO) now has a 50-day MA of $65.48 and 200-day MA of $65.56. It has traded in a 52-week range between $56.15 – 70.150 and today’s last price is 0.02% lower than the 52 week high of $70.15.

Earnings growth is a crucial factor to look at when investing in stocks and investors look for companies that have increased their earnings by at least 25% for 3 consecutive years.

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