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Press release from PR Newswire

S&P Equity Research Picks PM Focus Stock of the Week

Monday, June 13, 2011

S&P Equity Research Picks PM Focus Stock of the Week14:48 EDT Monday, June 13, 2011NEW YORK, June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM: $67) has been picked by Standard & Poor's Equity Research as its Focus Stock of the Week.  PM carries S&P's highest investment recommendation of 5-STARS, or Strong Buy."Although consumer spending trends have remained weak with consumers reluctant to accept price increases despite high commodity prices, we think Philip Morris International is well positioned to navigate and grow in a difficult environment," said Esther Kwon, Tobacco Equity Analyst at Standard & Poor's Equity Research.  "We also see tobacco companies continuing to have strong relative pricing power."  On the commodity cost side, Kwon believes pressures are likely to be muted in 2011, with increases in the low single digits, due to a larger leaf crop expected in Brazil and planned cost reductions.  She looks for the company to post growth above its domestic-focused tobacco peers due to its exposure to developing markets, where she forecasts a minimum of low single digit volume growth, while she projects volumes in developed markets will continue to decline.  She also sees its broad geographic footprint, encompassing approximately 180 countries, and its number one or number two market share position in many of these markets as assets.  Over the long term, she thinks these leading market shares position the company to benefit from rising per capita incomes in developing countries and to offset short-term weakness in specific regions with strength in others. To view a video of Ms. Kwon discussing PM, paste the following link into your browser. About Standard & Poor's Equity Research ServicesAs one of the world's largest producers of independent equity research, Standard & Poor's licenses its research to global institutions for their investors and advisors.  Standard & Poor's team of experienced U.S., European and Asian equity analysts use a fundamental, bottom-up approach to assess a global universe of equities across industries worldwide.  Follow Standard & Poor's equity analysts' U.S. market commentary each day at & Poor's keeps certain activities of its business units separate from each other in order to preserve the independence and objectivity of their respective activities. As a result, certain business units of Standard & Poor's may have information that is not available to other Standard & Poor's business units. 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