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If you're in search of investment income, it's hard to go wrong with
Altria Group (
MO). The $75 billion "sin stock" boasts a hefty 4.73% dividend yield right now. Altria has paid out a 44-cent dividend for the past four quarters, and that payout looks likely to get a boost in the near-term.
Altria owns an impressive stable of tobacco and alcohol brands. The firm's biggest name is Marlboro, the country's most popular cigarette brand, with a 42% share of the total U.S. market. There's little question that MO is dying a slow death; smoking is losing popularity domestically, and the firm spun off its international business all the way back in 2008. But the sticky remaining customer base and massive cash generation abilities help to offset the detractors. As Altria shifts its portfolio to more attractive businesses (such as alcohol and smokeless tobacco), it should shake off concerns over its staying power.
Another of Altria's most attractive assets is its 27% stake in
SABMiller (SBMRY), the second-largest beer brewer in the world. Alcohol, particularly the beer and wine segment, has been enjoying upticks in consumption and pricing in recent years, and investors shouldn't forget about Altria's exposure to the industry. In the meantime, MO's free cash flow generation should keep the dividends rolling in for investors in 2013.
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