Altria (MO) is what is left of the old Philip Morris Company after Philip Morris International (PM) and Kraft (KFT) were spun off several years ago. Altria is now primarily an American operation comprised of its domestic cigarette business, Philip Morris USA, which grows, manufactures and markets its cigarettes in the U.S.; U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, which has 55% of the smokeless tobacco market shares; Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, a West Coast wine operation; Philip Morris Capital, a leasing unit; and a minority share in SABMiller, the world's second-largest brewery to Anheuser-Busch Inbev (BUD).
The foreign exposure to SABMiller and the financing business is not material to the company's top or bottom line. To top it all off, Altria pays a 5% annual dividend, which I expect to be boosted later this year.Altria shows up on recent lists of 9 High-Yield Stocks to Consider in Lieu of Bonds and 10 Century-Old Blue-Chip Stocks Still Earning Their Keep. Consolidated Edison Consolidated Edison (ED), know to New Yorkers as Con Ed, is the largest utility company serving the New York metropolitan area with electricity, natural gas and steam power to residential, industrial, commercial and government customers. The company's cost of production has declined dramatically both from the reduction of input costs and the company's investment in new technologies. Not only does Con Edison avoid foreign exposure, it actually benefits from the massive influx of foreign immigrants to New York City and the large presence of foreign diplomats tied into the United Nations. Those foreign expenditures are not going away despite the Eurozone problems. If that is not enough, Con Ed has increased its dividend for 38 consecutive years and now pays a 3.9% annual dividend. Con Ed also shows up on recent lists of 25 Energy Stocks to Consider and 5 Buy-Rated Stocsk Outyielding "The 30-Year." Alaska Air U.S.-based carrier Alaska Air (ALK) flies to destinations which are limited to the United States, Canada and Mexico. To a great extent, Alaska Air has a virtual lock on air travel to and from Alaskan destinations. The travelers to or from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Germany, France of the other EU nations is quite small on Alaska Air. The company is also one of the few and most profitable airlines in the U.S. Fuel prices are declining, and Americans are traveling more than ever, especially by air. I also featured Alaska Air recently in "7 Value Stocks to Buy in Facebook's Wake." UnitedHealth Group UnitedHealth Group (UNH) is one of the largest health care plan operators in the U.S. Unlike many other insurance companies which offer a wide variety of other insurance and investment products which can be impacted by the financial markets, UnitedHealth focuses entirely on health care plans including pharmacy benefit management.
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