People watch stocks for different reasons -- they're waiting for a dip in price, watching for a specific catalyst, gathering all the news and information that might affect stocks they already own, or considering a sell. Regardless of their motivation, we can better understand market sentiment by seeing who's watching what. With the Fool's free My Watchlist service, we have tens of thousands of people telling us the businesses that have, for whatever reason, piqued their interest.

The most-watched tobacco stock is...
Looking at the aggregate data for the percentage of people keeping an eye on tobacco stocks in general, we see that Altria (NYSE: MO) is above the rest in terms of watch interest. And for good reason.

Altria is still a powerhouse for dividend investors, with a 6% yield and a commitment to pay out 80% of its earnings. But it also has had an enviable track record of capital appreciation. In Marlboro, the company has one of the most iconic brands in the world, and the company has great pricing power. So it's little surprise that Altria tops this list.

Here are the rest of the most-watched companies in the industry, along with their watch interest and the stocks' CAPS ratings, which show the sentiment of our investing community.

Rank

Company

Market cap

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Watch Interest

1

Altria

$56.5 billion

****

49.5%

2

Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM)

$122 billion

*****

30.7%

3

Reynolds American (NYSE: RAI)

$22.9 billion

****

5.6%

4

Star Scientific (Nasdaq: CIGX)

$391 million

*

4.8%

5

Lorillard (NYSE: LO)

$15.9 billion

****

3.9%

6

Vector Group (NYSE: VGR)

$1.4 billion

***

3.5%

7

Universal Corp. (NYSE: UVV)

$970 million

*****

1.2%

8

Alliance One International (NYSE: AOI)

$221 million

***

0.7%

9

British American Tobacco (NYSE: BTI)

$89.3 billion

****

0.2%

Source: Motley Fool CAPS, S&P Capital IQ.

Whether you're keeping an eye on the industry stalwarts such as Altria and Philip Morris or are watching a smaller player such as Vector, it still pays to watch. We can help you keep tabs on your companies with My Watchlist, our free, personalized stock tracking service. Get started now.

Jim Royal, Ph.D., owns shares of Philip Morris. The Motley Fool owns shares of Philip Morris and Altria. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Philip Morris. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bear put ladder position in Lorillard. 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.