Tobacco Shares Light Up Vice Fund

Andrew Fisher

The Vice Fund has a hint of notoriety -- but there's nothing wrong with its returns: it earned 17.8 percent last year.

Co-portfolio manager Charles Norton is very specific about what goes into the fund. He offered his insights to CNBC.

"We're finding opportunities in gaming, we're finding opportunities in aerospace defense, and we're finding opportunities in alcoholic beverages, globally," he told CNBC. 

"What we're finding opportunities on is really driven by global demand, that is there regardless of economic activity here in the U.S."

Lighting up the fund right now is Altria Group, which will spin off its PMI unit toward the end of March.  Would Norton wait until then to buy it?

"Absolutely not," he said. "We like Altria right here today.  In fact, it's our single largest holding here at the Vice Fund.  We think there's going to be tremendous value after the spinoff."

He was asked about the impact of Altria being dropped from the Dow Jones Industrials.

"Really, less than meaningless, to be quite honest," he replied.

Norton also likes Carolina Group, another tobacco company.

"Carolina Group is operating in a very strong fundamental backdrop," he said. 

"It's a first-rate franchise, and there's also a restructuring play here. Carolina Group is going to be going from a tracking stock of Lorillard, which it is right now, to an actual independent legal entity, after which there will be a dividend increase and stock buybacks, as well."

Norton owns both Altria and Carolina Group through his fund.

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