Is investor sentiment being snuffed out for British American Tobacco (BAT)? The cigarette giant has been a portfolio stalwart for many local investors who have managed to look past its peddling of potentially harmful and addictive products. BAT has delivered above-average capital growth while consistently satisfying dividend cravings. David Lerche, senior investment analyst at Sanlam Private Wealth, says over the past 17 years BAT has delivered more than 13% compound annual dividend growth in British pounds, increasing its dividend every year this century. "This illustrates its ability to continually improve margins through operating efficiencies and market share gains, despite industry-volume declines." But at the time of writing, BAT had lost around 25% of its market value over the past three months on the JSE. Some of the retreat has been on the back of recent rand strength. But even on the London Stock Exchange, where the group has its primary listing, the share price has scuttl...

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