SOURCE: Five Star Equities

Five Star Equities

July 25, 2012 08:20 ET

With Interest Rate Near Record Lows Long Term Investors Attracted to Strong Dividends From Altria Group and Philip Morris

Five Star Equities Provides Stock Research on Altria Group and Philip Morris

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Jul 25, 2012) - With interest rates and Treasury bond yields near record lows long term investors have looked to high yielding companies with strong earnings. Tobacco companies hold the reputation of having some of the safest dividends in the market as during the last great recession, which saw many companies slash dividends, the tobacco companies' yields remained intact. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the Cigarettes Industry and provides equity research on Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE: MO) and Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM).

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Altria Group, Reynolds American, Lorillard, and Phillip Morris International are the four cigarette companies listed in the S&P 500. The average dividend yield for the four companies, approximately 4.5 percent, is more than double the S&P 500's average dividend yield of 2.1 percent.

Cigarette companies in recent years have benefited from strong demand in Asia. Despite the current economic slowdown, tobacco sales in China during the first six months of the year rose 2.81 percent to 1.31 trillion cigarettes from a year ago, recent data from the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration showed. During that period tobacco imports from China total $1.25 billion. A report released in May by the Ministry of Health showed that China has more than 300 million smokers.

Five Star Equities releases regular market updates on the Cigarettes Industry so investors can stay ahead of the crowd and make the best investment decisions to maximize their returns. Take a few minutes to register with us free at and get exclusive access to our numerous stock reports and industry newsletters.

Altria Group announced second quarter net earnings of $1.23 billion or $0.60 a share yesterday, a figure nearly triple year-ago earnings. The announced income figures beat analyst forecasts and were primarily attributed to increased prices.

Phillip Morris currently offers investors an annual dividend of $3.08 per share for a yield of around 3.5 percent. For the second quarter of 2012 the company reported net revenues, excluding excise taxes, down by 1.8 percent to $8.1 billion, or up by 2.9 percent excluding currency and acquisitions. Shares of Phillip Morris are up over 12 percent this year.

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