Based on the aggregated intelligence of 170,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, tobacco giant Altria (NYSE: MO) has earned a respected four-star ranking.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at Altria's business and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

Altria facts

Headquarters (founded) Richmond, Va. (1919)
Market Cap $56.5 billion
Industry Tobacco
Trailing-12-Month Revenue $16.9 billion
Management

Chairman/CEO Michael Szymanczyk (since March 2008)

CFO Howard Willard III (since January 2011)

Return on Capital (average, past 3 years) 26.3%
Cash/Debt $3.4 billion / $12.2 billion
Dividend Yield 5.6%
Competitors

Lorillard (NYSE: LO)

Reynolds American (NYSE: RAI)

Sources: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's) and Motley Fool CAPS.

On CAPS, 96.5% of the 8,763 members who have rated Altria believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include modelman88 and All-Star MagicDiligence.

Just last week , modelman88 touched on Altria's dominant competitive position: "With 50 percent market share in cigarettes and smokeless brands (the most popular) and a nice portion of [SABMiller] (mmmm beer) MO is a no brainer. I'm long MO and will be putting it away in my IRA."

Currently, Altria even sports a cheapish P/E of 14. That represents a slight discount to other tobacco stocks such as Lorillard (15.8), Reynolds (16.2), and Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM) (16.9).

CAPS member MagicDiligence elaborates on the bull case:

Altria has 3 ways it can grow revenues. First, it can raise prices. Cigarette price hikes have outpaced volume declines since the 1970's (by a 3-to-1 ratio). ...

The 2nd avenue is cigarette market share gains, particularly in the premium priced segment. Given the astounding regulation and scrutiny around the industry, it is almost inconceivable that new competition would enter the market. ...


The 3rd way to grow is through acquisitions and growth in auxiliary businesses, particularly smokeless tobacco. Like Marlboro, Altria's Copenhagen smokeless brand dominates, with 26% share. ...

The big attraction to the stock, of course, is its dividend. ... I am a little concerned about the future for dividend growth, frankly. ... That said, Altria has hiked its dividend for 43 straight years, so what do I know?

What do you think about Altria, or any other stock for that matter? If you want to retire rich, you need to put together the best portfolio you can. Owning exceptional stocks is a surefire way to secure your financial future, and on Motley Fool CAPS, thousands of investors are working every day to find them. CAPS is 100% free, so get started!

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Altria and Philip Morris. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Philip Morris and writing puts on Lorillard. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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