[Editor's note: In honor of the New Year, we at StreetAuthority thought it might be worth looking back at some of our most popular articles of 2012. This article was originally published on June 22.]
I can't think of a stock that's more hated.
I've written about this company several times before. I've personally owned it for years. But just about every time I mention it, I end up receiving nasty emails admonishing the fact that I would cover... let alone recommend... investors ownshares of this company.
In fact, it happens so often that I instruct our staff toput in a mention that thisinvestment isn't for everyone whenever they cover it. If you don't want to invest in this stock, I can certainly understand. But if you have an open mind toward thisblack sheep, then you're likely to appreciate what it can do for you.
Simply take a look at its performance during the past year...
In a year marked by credit downgrades, the European debt crisis and stagnating growth, the most hated company on the planet -- Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM ) -- is still making investors rich. And that comes when the broadermarket has been a roller coaster ride.
In fact, Philip Morris touched a new52-week high in October.
Unfortunately, I've noticed that more and more investors seem to be tricked into thinkinginvesting has to be complicated. But stocks like Philip Morris prove that makingmoney doesn't have to be hard.
Philip Morris doesn't have a complicatedbusiness model . It is simply one of the most dominant and shareholder-friendly companies on the planet. The company does business in 180 countries and owns seven of the world's top 15 global brands in itsmarket .
But it has also made a mission of rewarding its shareholders. In the past three years alone, it has returned more than $12 billion in dividends while increasing the payments per share by 46%. Today, theshares pay ayield 4%.
Then there are the buybacks. Since May 2008 the company has repurchased more than $20 billion in stock -- or nearly 20% of theoutstanding shares .
All of these moves simply make the stock more valuable, even ifearnings don't rise a cent. And as you can see, that's showing up in the share price as well.
I must admit, I'm a bit biased though. I personally own Philip Morris and also selected it as one of my " 10 Best Stocks to Hold Forever. "
Of course, with investing there's never a surefire thing. There's no quality a company can possess thatwill guarantee its success.
But when you can find companies like Philip Morris that dominate theirmarket and are returning billions to investors, these are the sort of stocks that can still deliver strong returns in nearly any market -- including this one.
Action to Take -- > I recommend buying the stock up to $85 a share with aprice target of $115 a share. In our latest research -- Top 10 Stocks for 2013 -- we've uncovered several moreinvestments that are similar to Philip Morris in that they dominate their markets, pay increasing dividends and repurchase billions in stock. To learn more about these ideas, including several names andticker symbols , please visit this link .
-- Paul Tracy
Paul Tracy does not personally hold positions in any securities mentioned in this article. StreetAuthority LLC owns shares of PM in one or more of its "real money" portfolios.
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