What Covestor managers are buying: Renasant and Lorillard (RNST, LO)

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Shares of Renasant (NASDAQ: RNST) were added to Andy Schornack’s Financial Services model last week. In the model, Schornack uses a bottom-up approach while looking for companies with stable dividends.  In November 2010, RNST was mentioned favorably in the article “The Smart Money’s Top 8 Banking Stocks” on Fool.com, for the significant number of buys it had from institutional investors. On January 18th the company announced its 2010 fourth quarter and year-end financial results. Its 2010 net income of $31.7 million beat 2009’s income of $18.5 million and diluted EPS rose from $0.87 in 2009 to $1.38 in 2010. On January 25th, RNST had a dividend yield of 4.21 percent according to CNN Money.

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Speaking of dividends, manager James Hofmann added additional shares of Lorillard (NYSE: LO) to his Dividend Growth model. On January 25th, CNN Money reported that LO had a 6.05 percent dividend yield. Currently, LO is battling the FDA which may decide, come March, to ban menthol products. If that happens LO could lose up to 90 percent of their sales. But some read the recent resignation of tobacco critic  Gregory N. Connolly from the FDA’s tobacco advisory committee as a positive sign for LO on that front. Meanwhile, some analysts wonder how long tobacco companies like LO can continue paying high dividends, as downgrades and concerns about tobacco company longevity in the midst of heavy anti-tobacco campaigns remain.