A money making moral dilemma

Monday, April 10, 2017

Today’s dividend came from Altria Group (MO). I was paid $0.61 for the one share I own.

I love Altria as a stock. I’ve owned a share since pretty much the beginning of my march (July, 2016) and have received three dividend payments, all for $0.61. The stock has appreciated 11.25% since then, too, so I certainly can’t complain.

As a stock, there really isn’t anything to complain about. MO has been steadily increasing its dividend for the past eight years, has a super-low P/E ratio (9.85), a fat 3.40% yield and a manageable payout ratio well under 50%, so the dividend shouldn’t stop growing any time soon. What’s not to like?

Oh … yeah … it makes its money from cigarettes. I guess there’s that. I could list all the reasons why cigarettes suck, but I think it’s pretty obvious. I’ve never smoked a cigarette and never will. Frankly, I’m surprised people still do. The health risks are well documented and I’ve never been able to figure out why people are willing to ignore them. I know cigarettes are addicting, which is probably part of the reason people continue to purchase packs, but why else would anyone buy. Why?

I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know this: I’ll probably buy more shares of Altria in the future because it’s making me money, which is the whole point of investing. It’s a bit of a moral dilemma, but people are going to smoke whether or not I own MO or not. People are free to make their own decisions and, while I don’t think smoking is a good idea personally, I’m certainly not going to judge someone for it.

Here’s a little more about what my portfolio did today:

Deposits

$10

Gain/Loss

+ $6.49 (0.10%)

Purchases

None

Top Performers

Whole Foods Market (up $3.28, 10.50%), Enviva Partners (up $1.25, 4.47%) and Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (up $0.71, 1.86%).

Worst Performers

Nucor (down $0.69, 1.13%), Hershey Co. (down $1.20, 1.10%), Omnicom (down $0.72, 0.84%).