Joey has given us permission to buy the tobacco stocks, which to him, at these prices and dividend yields (remember dividends?), represent the perfect hedge.

“Joey!” I cried in the same tone I imagine Caesar used when last he spoke with Brutus – “How could you be buying Philip Morris?!?!” Joey works harder against the tobacco companies than anyone else in the world. (That may literally be true. He has 100,000 names on his e-mailing list. He keys in address changes himself. He has accomplished amazing things. If you’re interested in the issue, visit his Web site at

“It’s the perfect hedge,” he explained. “If they go broke, I’ll be thrilled, and if they don’t, I’ll be rich. [Pause for effect.] And believe me: They’re not going broke.”

The thing is, if you bought shares in a brand new tobacco company, or if you bought shares in a handgun company that needed occasionally to visit the capital markets to raise more money to build more factories, you would in some small way be aiding the tobacco or handgun industries. I can see why some people don’t want to do that – I among them.

But the last thing the tobacco companies need is cash; they are awash in cash. The chances of their having to tap the capital markets to sell more shares to build more factories are very slim. So by grabbing some shares at today’s tempting prices, you might – might – make out well. And if anyone ever peaks over your shoulder at your brokerage statement and challenges you for owning RJR Nabisco or Philip Morris, you can just say Joey gave you permission.

Feel free to donate your large dividends to a cause you believe in.


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