Just admit it. You're in love. You know because little butterfly hearts twirl out of everything you pass by. You do cartwheels down the street but nobody seems to mind. Nuclear reactors melt down and instead of a mushroom cloud, you see a gigantic heart in the sky. There's a stock for every occasion, so while you are overcome with good feeling and warm fuzzies, here are five stocks that should improve your outlook even more.
Jewelry is always popular this time of year. Actually, jewelry is popular anytime of year. If you haven't had the good fortune of seeing a woman's eyes light up at the sight of a blue box from Tiffany and Co. (TIF), then you are missing one of life's better moments. You also have more money in your pocket than the fella who has shelled out the bucks for said blue box. Tiffany would rather you spend that money, of course. The stock has fallen back into a buying range after a 23% selloff. Earnings reports from luxury retailers have been strong lately, Tiffany's latest report notwithstanding. With a good balance sheet, trading at a PEG ratio of just about 1.0, and a world-class brand name, it's a buy along with whatever gift you purchase.
Fragrance is a great gift from men and women alike. Estee Lauder (EL) makes everyone smell good, in addition to making women look even better with all of their cosmetics. The company's brand name has allowed it to survive even the worst financial crisis, and is shored up with a billion in cash. It generates about $750 million in free cash flow each year. This does present one problem for both genders. It's dicey to buy a fragrance for your partner unless you try it on them first. But if you drag them to the fragrance counter at the local department store, they may ask too many questions (like, "Why are you doing this?"), and then your cover is blown. Still, better that then buying a "musky" scent that makes your man smell like a buffalo.
How about a romantic getaway? No, I'm not talking about some dumb camping trip in the middle of the desert, where you risk getting you arm caught between a boulder and a canyon wall. I'm talking about an exotic locale where you can get hammered at the bar drinking mai-tai's. You don't want to buy airline stocks, but you should take a long look at hotel REITs, which have been on the rebound. The important metrics for the hotel industry - RevPAR, ADR, and Occupancy Rates - are all on significant upswings. I prefer Ashford Hospitality Trust (AHT) for its diversification across hotel brands and geography, plus it pays a nice dividend.
I know you're waiting for me to talk about flowers. So, here it is. You have two choices. You can go with the risky pure play of 1-800 Flowers.com (FLWS), which trades at 15 times next year's earnings, and appears to be growing earnings, and has decent cash flow. But that's a bit like buying 100 yellow roses without being absolutely certain your partner likes roses, or the color yellow. I prefer diversifying via Liberty Interactive (LINTA), which owns a number of premium e-commerce businesses including ProFlowers.com. Go with the diversified bouquet, you know what I'm getting at?
For those of you who cannot stand Valentine's Day and wish it would go the way of the massacred Saint for which the day is named, check out my article on 5 Stocks for Haters of Valentine's Day.
Disclosure: I am long AHT.