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It's been a good year for shareholders of
Philip Morris International(PM - Get Report) in spite of the resilience that the U.S. dollar has shown in 2012. Shares of the tobacco company have risen close to 17% since the first trading day in January, adding onto what amounts to a 3.3% dividend yield right now.
PM is the prototypical "sin stock," and for dividend investors, that's a very good thing; it means that the firm sports recession-resistant sales, brand loyalty and a strong dividend payout.
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Philip Morris International spun off from
Altria(MO) back in 2008, separating the firm's U.S. and international operations into distinct companies. PM, the international arm, is by itself the second-largest tobacco company in the world, selling popular brands like Marlboro, L&M, and Parliament to smokers around the world. In addition to mature markets in Western Europe, PM has been chasing high-growth in markets like India, Thailand and Eastern Europe.
Because Philip Morris International earns its revenue in foreign currencies, then converts it to dollars for reporting purposes, the firm is very susceptible to exchange-rate losses as an appreciating dollar cuts away at the firm's earnings. So far, emerging market growth has managed to keep PM's sales a step ahead of currency problems -- and keep the firm's dividend climbing. The firm looks ready for a hike to its 77-cent payout.
I also featured Philip Morris recently in "
5 Rocket Stocks You Should Buy."