This month, I recommend you buy Lorillard (NYSE:LO), a high-yielding tobacco stock that has been able to consistently grow its earnings via strong organic growth.
Lorillard manufactures and sells 43 different cigarette brands — with Newport, Kent, True, Maverick and Old Gold the best-known brand names — and the company has been especially successful since the global economic slowdown with its cheaper brands as it targets blue-collar smokers.
I’m already invested in Lorillard’s bigger tobacco peers, Altria Group (NYSE:MO) and Reynolds American (NYSE:RAI), and although Lorillard is about a third the size of Altria and less than half the size of Reynolds, its most recent earnings beat shows that the company has been able to strongly grow revenues and actually is taking market share from these larger companies.
After adding Lorillard to your portfolio, you also should consider owning Altria, Reynolds and Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM). All four of these companies are strong dividend payers and have been posting solid earnings results.
For example, Lorillard recently announced that its fourth-quarter sales rose 8.7% to $1.62 billion, compared with $1.49 billion in the same quarter a year ago. During the same period, Lorillard’s earnings rose 33.3% to $310 million, or $2.32 per share, compared with $259 million, or $1.74 per share. The analyst community was expecting earnings of $1.94 per share and sales of $1.09 billion, so the company posted a 12.8% earnings surprise and an amazing 48.6% sales surprise.
Also noteworthy is that Lorillard boosted its quarterly dividend by 19% to $1.55 per share, up from $1.30 per share, which effectively raised its annual dividend yield to over 5% from 4.2%.
Finally, Lorillard is aggressively buying back its outstanding stock at an annual pace of more than $1 billion per year, and the company bought back 3.3 million shares in Q4 at a cost of $366 million.