Philip Morris International

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It's been a strong year for global tobacco firm Philip Morris International ( PM). The company has managed to eke out a tiny edge over the S&P 500 on top of its already impressive 3.69% dividend payout. While PM doesn't quite have the defensive bent that Procter does, it's still a good core income holding -- and enough of a momentum name to be included in our latest Rocket Stocks cut.

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Philip Morris International is the second-largest tobacco firm in the world, with more than 28% of the ex-U.S. global market. In 2008, Altria (MO) spun off PM, effectively taking its most attractive business and chopping it off from is U.S. operations. While the U.S. market for tobacco products is rife with regulation and demographic shifts are turning away from smoking, international tobacco sales are up -- especially in emerging markets.

PM's strong brand portfolio includes flagship Marlboro in addition to second-tier names like L&M, Parliament and Chesterfield. That positioning with the world's best brand should help it dig into new markets where Marlboro has brand awareness from media exposure. Because PM earns money in foreign currencies and reports in greenbacks, the strength of the U.S. dollar has been the biggest challenge for PM.

That said, as we near the fiscal cliff, other currencies should start to gain traction on the dollar. That could provide currency gains (or at least halt currency losses) for Philip Morris International shareholders.

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