Altria Group, Inc. (MO)
52-Week Range: $25.27 to $36.29
Yield: 4.82% I don't care for the smell of cigarettes, but making money has a sweet aroma I find hard to resist. I was out of town on vacation last week, or I would have likely picked up shares of Altria on Friday. If I am able to light up, and acquire shares at a price near $33, I intend to add this one as a longer-term hold.Shareholders receive $1.64 annually in dividend payments. Examining the dividend history of a company is a great way to help understand what we may expect in the future. Of course the past doesn't guarantee future dividends, but it does paint a useful picture. The three-year average amount they have distributed to shareholders per year is $1.45. $2.21 per share this year in estimated earnings is enough to keep the dividend addiction more than satisfied. Currently, the short interest based on the float is small and not a big concern. Short interest is 2.4%. Background: Altria is the parent company of Philip Morris USA, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, John Middleton, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Philip Morris Capital Corporation. Their tobacco company brand portfolios consist of successful and well-known brand names such as Marlboro, Copenhagen, Skoal and Black & Mild. The company was founded in 1919 and trades an average of 9 million shares per day with a marketcap of $68 billion. Verizon Communications (VZ) 52-Week Range: $34.65 to $46.41 Investors are receiving $2 a year in dividends for a yield of 4.73%. During the last three years of dividend payments, the average yearly dividend declared was $1.91. Over the last five years, the dividend has increased by an average of almost 4% per year. Verizon is estimated to make $2.50 per share this year, and while the payout rate is above some of the others, this company has a utility feel to it. The stock has retraced off the highs of July; however, it appears the lower prices are more of a bargain sale than a change in the trend direction. The moving averages are moving higher, but the price did fall below the 60- and 90-day moving averages before bouncing back above the 90-day moving average. The 200-day moving average price support doesn't become a factor until $40.30. I don't believe Verizon will move below the key 200-day moving average support absent a large catalyst. Background: Verizon, formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is one of the world's leading providers of high-growth communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States. Verizon trades an average of 10 million shares per day with a marketcap of $120 billion.
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