In the spirit of World Cup competition, we're holding our own tournament in search of the Better Stock Today. We're pitting 32 companies against each other, and you, the reader, will determine the winner.

Philip Morris International takes on Bank of America for this first round-robin matchup in our search for the better stock today.

Consumer goods analyst Mark Reeth believes the No. 1 reason Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM) should take the prize is its unmatched brand power. With the international rights to Marlboro, the world's best-selling cigarette brand by far, Philip Morris claims 28% of the global cigarette market. This massive scale and pricing power reward the company with the industry's leading profit margin, which should enable it to return even more cash to owners in the form of dividends and buybacks over time. 

Banking analyst David Hanson makes the case for Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) to win this matchup. He believes Bank of America's troubled mortgage unit is temporarily hiding the strong performance in its other segments. The bank's wealth management business is world-class and consistently generates returns on capital over 30%. Then there are the improving retail and investment banking segments. As the bank continues to work through legal issues, these high-performing businesses will cause the stock to fetch higher multiples than it is currently assigned by the market. 

Vote here to determine the winner of this match and sound off in the comments box below. Check back to to see who advances in the tournament.

David Hanson has no position in any stocks mentioned. Mark Reeth has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Bank of America. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.