Sunday, February 18, 2007

Big MO finally saying bye to Kraft

Philip Morris (excuse me Altria for those of you just joining us) bought Kraft in 1988 for 12.9 Billion dollars and now they are giving it away tax free. MO shareholders of record on the 16th of March will get about .7 shares of Kraft (KFT) on March 30th. I picked up my first MO shares back in ’89 and have had the DRIP running the whole time.

So on March 30th I will be handed a few shares of KFT and will have to decide what to do with them. Right now I am leaning toward just starting Kraft’s DRIP and letting it run for awhile. Recently, Kraft has faced some challenges and are in the middle of trying to get things squared away. Investors seem to be underwhelmed with Kraft's efforts. Since the IPO back in 2001 (Philip Morris kept over 80%) the stock has been erratic to say the least.

The good news is those ups and downs can and do work in a DRIP’s favor. Over the years MO’s DRIP has shined the brightest when they were facing bankrupting lawsuits and the stock price tanked. (Case in point: Back in the beginning of 2003 you could have picked up shares for under $40 (if you had the stones). Today MO is trading in the 80’s.) For the past 15+ years I have owned MO it seems we have continually either been on the brink of losing a catastrophic court case or recovering from one.

Is MO a buy or a sell right now? Will Kraft be a buy or a sell after the spin-off? I don’t know. For me MO is an investment not a trade. What either will do in the short term is best left to a coin flip. Now long term, with the DRIP running, I think both will be good investments. Remember I am investing MY money and making MY decisions based off of MY research with a little gut feeling thrown in. When investing YOUR money make YOUR decisions based off of YOUR research and whatever else you want to thrown in.

That’s it for today. Here’s to finding companies that are worth living with long term. And to keeping an eye on your EveryDay Money.

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