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Why Philip Morris International's Still Smokin' in 2012

As we've hit the halfway point for 2012, now's a good time to look back at what's happening with the stocks that interest you. By making sure you know the important things that a company accomplished -- as well as the setbacks it experienced -- you can make a better decision about whether it's a smart investment for your portfolio.

Today, let's take a look at Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM  ) . The company that took on the international operations from former parent Altria (NYSE: MO  ) has found unparalleled success with its tobacco business abroad. But after a fantastic 2011, will the company be able to keep up the pace? Let's take a quick look at how the stock is doing so far this year.

Stats on Philip Morris International

2012 YTD Return 13.2%
Market Capitalization $149 billion
Revenue, Most Recent Quarter $7.45 billion
Year-Over-Year Revenue Growth, Most Recent Quarter 9.7%
Net Income, Most Recent Quarter $2.16 billion
Year-Over-Year Net Income Growth, Most Recent Quarter 12.6%
CAPS Rating *****

Source: S&P Capital IQ, company reports.

How has Philip Morris International continued to soar this year?
Owning tobacco stocks has always involved a battle between risk and reward. On one hand, litigation problems have hounded stateside tobacco companies Altria, Lorillard (NYSE: LO  ) , and Reynolds American (NYSE: RAI  ) for years, and the potential threat of a huge liability award that could wipe out the industry has historically led valuations among tobacco stocks to stay reasonably cheap.

That threat was one of the reasons why Altria spun off Philip Morris in the first place. By leaving it free of U.S. exposure, Philip Morris was designed to avoid expensive U.S. litigation risk. Although foreign governments have started trying to clamp down on the tobacco industry, the U.S. remains notorious for its rich jury awards, and so Philip Morris and fellow international giant British American Tobacco (AMEX: BTI) arguably have a smoother road ahead of them. Growth has also remained faster around the world, even as many fellow Europe-exposed companies have struggled.

But the shares have doubled in the past two years, leaving some to think that dividend-hungry investors have bid the stock up too far. Even if the company's anti-litigation strategy works, a trailing earnings multiple of more than 17 is quite a bit pricier than investors usually have to pay.

Philip Morris International isn't bargain-priced right now, but it still has some potential to go higher. Nevertheless, if you'd rather look at prospects with more upside left, let me invite you to learn about three smart long-term stock plays in the Fool's latest special report. It's yours for the taking and is absolutely free, but don't miss out -- click here and read it today.

Click here to add Philip Morris International to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. 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 Fool has a disclosure policy.

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10/21/2016 4:01 PM
PM $96.31 Up +0.74 +0.77%
Philip Morris Inte… CAPS Rating: ****
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Lorillard CAPS Rating: ****
MO $63.70 Up +1.85 +2.99%
Altria Group CAPS Rating: ****
RAI $53.78 Up +6.61 +14.01%
Reynolds American CAPS Rating: ****