Philip Morris International Shares Cross 5% Yield Mark

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In trading Tuesday, shares of Philip Morris International were yielding upwards of 5% points based on its quarterly dividend ($5 annually), with the stock trading as low as $99.08 on the day. Dividends are particularly important to investors, as historically speaking dividends have provided a considerable portion of the stock market’s total return. For example, suppose you bought shares of the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) back on 12/31/1999 — you would have paid $146.88 per share. Fast forward to 12/31/2012 and on that date each share was worth $142.41, a decrease of $4.67/share over all those years. But now consider that you collected a whopping $25.98 per share in dividends over the same period, for a positive total return of 23.36%. Even with dividends reinvested, this equates to an average annual total return of only about 1.6%; So comparably collecting more than 5% yield would seem quite attractive if that yield is sustainable. Philip Morris International is an S&P 500 company, which gives it a special status as one of the large-cap companies that make up the S&P 500 index.

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Let the slideshow begin: 10 stocks where yields just got more juicy »

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In general, dividend amounts are not always predictable and follow the ups and downs of profitability in each company. In the case of Philip Morris International Inc., looking at PM’s history chart below can help determine whether the most recent dividend is likely to continue, and it is reasonable to expect a 5% annual yield in return. No.

Top 10 Dividend Paying Stocks Feather top dividend,

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