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On the other side of the spectrum is tobacco giant
Lorillard(LO), the third-biggest cigarette maker in the country. Lorillard makes products under the popular Newport, Kent, and Max brands. The firm has posted a volatile couple of years, as the threat of FDA action against mentholated cigarettes sent investors fleeing from shares only to pile back in.
All the while, Lorillard steadily increased its dividend payout to a split-adjusted 51.67 cents per share. That's a huge 5.23% yield at current price levels.
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Lorillard owns the lucrative mentholated cigarette market. Around 94% of LO's sales come from its popular Newport brand, which in turn takes about 36% of the menthol category's sales. FDA concerns showed the company just how oversized its exposure to menthol is, and new diversification into non-mentholated cigarettes bodes well for investors. So does the acquisition of Blu Electronic Cigarettes, a product that vaporizes a liquid tobacco alternative. The popularity of so-called eCigs could help spur top line growth in 2013.
Financially, Lorillard has been piling up cash, amassing more than $1.7 billion in its coffers as of the most recent quarter. This firm enjoys a hefty economic moat and generates more than enough cash to keep hiking its dividend payout again in 2013.
As of the most recently reported quarter, Lorillard was one of
Renaissance Technologies' top holdings.