Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) is a standalone U.S.-focused tobacco company, now that Phillip Morris’s international operations are outside of the company. That gives it a pure-play on no currency risks in the core business. The 3.9% dividend yield also likely will keep getting raised, along with a firm industry-wide pricing power trend that has been in place to fight declining case volumes. Most legal woes are behind the company as well. Oh, and vaping is effectively keeping smokers in the game of buying occasional packs of cigarettes longer on a net-net basis.
Altria shares were trading at $55.96, within its 52-week trading range of $41.64 to $56.70. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $58.89. Its dividend yield is 3.9%.
American Water Works
American Water Works Co. Inc. (NYSE: AWK) is the absolute king of water utilities, and it is one of the most defensive utilities that should easily withstand a rising interest rate environment. While its dividend yield is less than 3% at this time, the reality is that this is about as defensive as you can get in utilities. It simply cannot have competition in its key water markets, and the exposure to California here is manageable with its 15 million person footprint in over 40 states. This is one of our 10 stocks to own for the next decade.
Shares of American Water Works were at $52.50, below its consensus analyst price target of $57.92. The stock has 52-week trading range of $47.58 to $57.48. It has a dividend yield of 2.7% and its stock is down almost 10% from highs.
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) finally has recovered from its lows under $30. The drug giant’s exposure to the patent expiration cliff is well known, and the company may be able to continue fighting generics by simply releasing its own generics. Pfizer also has restructuring potential upside for special situation investors if the company ever decides to break itself up. Unlike other key pharma and health care stocks that pulled back handily of late, Pfizer’s stock is down only about 4% from its 52-week high, and its dividend yield is still better than rival Merck.
Pfizer shares were at $35.42, versus its 52-week trading range of $27.51 to $36.46. The consensus analyst price target is $38.67. It has a dividend yield of 3.2%.
Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) is the king of defensive stocks in consumer products, with its more than $200 billion market cap. It has suffered from currency issues already and its shares have pulled back almost 20% from highs. It is also in a restructuring effort to get more focused and to perhaps return even more capital to its shareholders. What the core company will truly be remains an outstanding issue, but so far it has found takers for each brand and group it wants to walk away from.
Shares were at $76.26 on Monday afternoon. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $85.50, and a 52-week range of $75.25 to $93.89. The dividend yield is 3.3%.