There are some stocks that you just buy and hold forever, because their business is so fundamental to the daily lives of so many people. They deserve to be a part of your core long-term portfolio. You buy them, never sell them, and let them ride for 30 years -- collecting any dividends they pay along the way.
One such stock is Altria
Whenever a state is short on revenue and needs to raise taxes, cigarettes are often at the front of the line to get hit with a levy. Doesn't matter. Smokers shell out the additional money.
Everyone knows about cancer. Doesn't matter. Smokers don't care. In fact, cigarette manufacturers were all too eager to be required to produce anti-smoking messages. Why? As noted in the recent book release Buyology by Martin Lindstrom, a neuroscience experiment showed that even the most disgusting, stomach-churning anti-smoking commercials or images actually stimulated the part of the brain that causes someone to crave a cigarette! There's truly no such thing as bad publicity, it seems.
Smoking is an integral part of global storytelling fabric, in the form of movies and television. Lindstrom even found that simply providing certain colors, shapes, or simple western-themed images associated with cigarette brands (think: cowboy) still generated cigarette cravings.
Most of the time, I delve deep into a company's financials before making an investment. I really want to know everything about a business before I commit a penny to it. But Altria is a no-brainer. Beyond knowing what it does, a quick glance at its financials is all you need.
The company generates $40 billion in revenue every year. Annual net income tops $3 billion, and the company prints billions in free cash flow each year. In terms of P/E ratio, it's also trading at about a midrange price compared to where it's been valued historically. Altria is priced lower than British American International
And all that worry over the multigazillion-dollar lawsuits? Anyone who's ever worried about litigation fears to the point of not buying the stock has missed out on substantial gains over the past decade, along with the current dividend payout of 7%. I just don't see some business-ending judgment ever happening; the government just needs these tobacco cash cows way too much.
Those interested in smoking out other plays in the sector should definitely look at Phillip Morris International
Altria -- buy it, smoke it, forget about it. This is one addiction I like.
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