Big Tobacco Botches the E-Cig Name Game

Back in April, I asked if E-Cigarettes would relight Big Tobacco’s prospects.   I had my doubts. E-cigs seemed to be a more pleasurable version of a nicotine patch: something that an existing smoker might switch to for health reasons but not exactly an attractive or glamorous product for someone who doesn’t already smoke.  (Humphrey Bogart [...]

Marijuana Stocks: You Would Have to be High to Buy Them at Current Prices

I’ve been a big believer in vice investing—and particularly tobacco stock investing—for a long time.  I turned bearish on tobacco stocks late last year, but this was based purely on price.  In my view, tobacco stocks had simply gotten too expensive relative to other dividend-paying options—and I would reiterate that view today. But if ol’ [...]

Can E-Cigarettes Relight Big Tobacco?

Has Big Tobacco stumbled into a new growth market in electronic cigarettes? Well, sort of.  Use of e-cigarettes—which produced a smokeless water vapor infused with nicotine—is expected to more than double in 2013, which might ordinarily be good news for the major tobacco giants. Altria (NYSE:$MO), Reynolds American (NYSE:$RAI) and Lorillard (NYSE:$LO) are all active [...]

The Russian Smoking Ban: Will It Snuff Out Big Tobacco Profits?

Life hasn’t gotten any easier for Big Tobacco.  Last week, Russia became the latest country to impose major new restrictions on smoking in public places.  Starting in June, Russians will no longer be able to smoke in restaurants, and cigarette advertising will be banned. I have my doubts as to how strictly the ban will [...]

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The Playboy Leveraged Buyout, Two Years Later

Almost exactly two years ago, I wrote a short piece on Hugh Hefner’s leveraged buyout of Playboy Enterprises and commented that the company was transitioning away from its adult media businesses and into licensing and brand management.  Essentially, founder Hugh Hefner wanted to turn his company into something like a Dolce and Gabbana, but with an [...]

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Whiskey and Beer Still Better Long-Term Bets than Wine

Constellation Brands (NYSE:$STZ), the world’s largest publically-trading winery, took an absolute beating yesterday when the U.S. Department of Justice torpedoed the Grupo Modelo (OTC:$GPMCF) – Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:$BUD) merger on anti-competitive grounds. Given the wide variety of alcoholic beverage choices, the government’s move seems a little absurd.  Yes, roughly 80% of all beer drunk in [...]

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Follow-Up to “Diageo: The Ultimate 12- to 18-Year Investment”

Back in June, I mused that Diageo (NYSE:$DEO), the maker of Johnny Walker Scotch whisky and other brands, was “The Ultimate 12- to 18-Year Investment.” It was, of course, a reference to the length of time that Scotch needs to be aged in order to be marketable (or drinkable).  Scotch can be officially be called [...]

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A Hangover in Booze Stocks?

For the past year, it’s been a swinging-from-the-chandeliers party in booze stocks.  High-end alcohol distillers have kept investors buzzed in an otherwise sobering stretch. Diageo (NYSE: $DEO), the biggest and best diversified of the lot, is up 37% over the past 52 weeks.  But Pernod-Ricard (Pink:$PDRDY) and Beam, Inc. (NYSE:$BEAM) are both up more than [...]

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My Favorite Tobacco Stock is…Intel?

Yes, you read that correctly.  My favorite “tobacco stock” is Intel Corp (Nasdaq:$INTC). Lest you think I’ve lost my mind, I am aware that Intel does not sell or market cigarettes or other tobacco products. Intel is the world’s premier designer and manufacturer of computer processors. But while Intel is not a tobacco company, it [...]

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