In the world of investing, one must know when to quit. Whilst it is, I hope, many years before I no longer manage my money, one shouldn't expect to own their favourite stock today, forever. After all, it is not just that the world changes (because obviously, it does), but any share can become fundamentally fully-valued; that is when to move on.
For a non-smoker I undoubtedly do comment about the world’s leading tobacco names far too much. As an investor though there have been opportunities in the names over recent years, initially in terms of dividends but more recently via total return levels. It is certainly no disgrace to see Imperial Tobacco (IMB) shares up c. 10% year-to-date, whilst shares in British American Tobacco (BATS) are up nicely over 15%. Smoking! So where do us investors go from here on the names?
It is an exciting day at many levels, even if ‘the prime minister said it was too early to draw conclusions on the characteristics of Omicron but early indications were that it is more transmissible than Delta’. I see the FTSE 100 is within about 1% of its 2021 high, whilst the CAC 40 in France is even closer – and I won’t bore you with the observation about how close the S&P 500 in the US is to its goodness knows how many new highs this year. It is certainly all good fun for a certain type of investor.
Back in late April I wrote about the ‘US tobacco market shocker’ for companies such as Imperial Brands (IMB) and British American Tobacco (BATS), but argued that it was more of an opportunity than a threat HERE. British American Tobacco produced its first half numbers today and whilst there is plenty of difference between current rate and constant rate returns (thanks the rise of the pound against the dollar and related over the last year!), the company is still growing its underlying sales and profits. And whilst the US authorities were very grumpy concerning their desire to ‘ban menthol cigarettes, ban flavoured cigars build on previous flavour ban and mark significant steps to reduce addiction’, not only have the shares edged up since but sales and profits have continued to go up in both the US and around the world.