Jim Cramer has not recommended tobacco stocks for a while, partially because he is concerned that the rise of electronic cigarettes could impact the industry, and partially because he’s just not a fan of smoking. “A lot of people have been asking about the tobacco plays lately since there has been so much consolidation talk in the industry,” the “Mad Money” host said.
As much as the products could stink up a room, the stocks have been proven winners within the vice group. Selling one of the most addictive products out there certainly helps for a business model, Cramer said.
That is why Cramer decided to take a look at the charts of Vector Group, Altria Group, Philip Morris, and Reynolds American to see which ones are worth owning. To gain further insight, he spoke with Suz Smith, a technician, portfolio manager with Strategic Portfolio Solutions, co-founder of ExplosiveOptions.net and colleague of Cramer’s at RealMoney.com.
Smith found that it may be worth it to circle back to the tobacco stocks at their current levels, with Philip Morris, Altria and Vector Group as the winners.
However, she advised to proceed with caution for Reynolds American.
For his part, Cramer likes that Altria is the No. 2 U.S. tobacco company, with its biggest brand Marlboro controlling 40 percent of the domestic market for cigarettes. This is important because regulators will not allow tobacco companies to advertise — thus the industry is basically frozen in time.
Altria has always been the top player because there effectively isn’t another way for anyone else to take away market share. So even though rates of smoking have declined in the U.S., Altria has an unchallenged position and its branding power allows it to continue to raise prices.
Additionally, Smith found that from a technical perspective, Altria has been steadily climbing higher since last November. With the stock trading at $61 on Monday, Smith thinks it could be close to a perfect entry point.
As for Reynolds American, Smith said that the stock had a stellar run recently. She thinks the stock is due for a rest before it can resume its run higher and recommended to wait for a pullback to the 50-day moving average around $48. That stock dipped modestly on Monday, closing around $51.