Sunday, December 04, 2005

The New Fed Chief's Favourite Stock

Ben Bernanke holds stock in one company (plus a few mutual funds). That company is Altria Group, the Big MO, formerly Philip Morris, one the world's largest manufacturers of cigarettes.

Jeremy Siegel has all the gritty details at Yahoo Finance:

From 1957, when the S&P 500 Index was founded, Phillip Morris has yielded nearly 20 percent per year, outclassing the other 499 members of this venerable index by wide margins.

To give you an idea how strong this performance is, if you put $1,000 in an index fund when the S&P 500 Index was founded and reinvested your dividends, you would have about $140,000 today. But if you put $1,000 in Philip Morris stock, you would have over $6 million dollars today -- more than 40 times as much!

Why did it do so well? For a simple reason, there are millions of investors out there who won't touch this stock with a 10-foot pole. And that keeps its price down and its returns high.

Let's hope Bernanke can do as good a job at keeping inflation in check without following the same rationale for the dollar.