By Raghav Ravichander
It has been nearly three hundred years since the inaugural parade for The Knights of St. Patrick, but the joviality and importance of the occasion persists to this day. Arising first in eighteenth century Ireland, St. Patrick's Day has become a prominent holiday in nearly every corner of the world.
People looking to celebrate may go out and purchase products in preparation for this holiday. To name but a few: alcohol, alcohol, food and - without surprise - more alcohol. Due to the nature of St. Patrick's Day, there will be a lot of spending for alcohol and its complements. With this in mind, here are five stocks for the holiday.
Anheuser - Busch InBev (BUD):
Beer consumption is going to be at a high point on March 17; consequently, increased beer sales may be expected in the days leading up to Saturday. Anheuser - Busch has its staple brands - Budweiser and Stella Artois - that have already exceeded expectations last quarter. There was a 7.7% increase in normalized earnings from last year's $3.9 billion and a phenomenal 63% increase in quarterly net profit from 1.56 billion in 2010 to $2.54 billion this year.
Although the company's flagship brand - Budweiser - is steadily losing its presence in the market, 2012 has shown to be rather profitable. This may be attributed to the apparent improvement in the consumer's purchasing ability and the market as a whole.
Diageo PLC (DEO):
Quite similar to the case above, Diageo PLC is an alcoholic beverages powerhouse that produces not only beer and wine, but also spirits. From Smirnoff to Guinness, Diageo's production line consists of the most diverse products within the alcoholic beverages industry; perhaps this is the reason for its consistent, yet powerful performance over the last decade.
Despite the abysmal state of the economy, Diageo had managed to somehow come out of 2011 with 9% operating profit growth and 3% volume sales growth. Whether people were buying their products to drown away their sorrows or not, Diageo had experienced great returns.
Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC):
This exchange-traded fund tracks the performance of the MSCI US Investable Market Consumer Staples Index: incorporated in the consumer staples sector is any industry that manufactures and sells food, beverages, tobacco, prescription drugs and household products.
The company has experienced an increase of 14.79% in returns over the last year at current levels and 2.62% in the last month.
SPDR MSCI Europe Consumer Staples ETF (STS):
Despite St. Patrick's Day being popular in the US, the holiday originated in Europe. This day is of utmost importance to Europe - primarily Ireland - and for most people there, the night may not end without a trip to the local pub. In fact, the economic activity this coming week might be the most Ireland has had all year. Europe in its entirety has not done well these past few years; the conditions in Europe have been unstable to say the least.
However, just like the American Consumer Staples ETF, the SPDR MSCI Europe Consumer Staples ETF has done rather well considering the state of the European economy. At current levels, shares are up 34% in the past year.
How on earth does this colossal consumer electronics company relate to St. Patrick's Day? Well, Apple has decided to cleverly release its latest model of the touch screen tablet PC known as iPad 3 on March 16, 2012.
Historically, the iPad has sold about 400 - 600 thousand units during the first week of its release; therefore, we can expect something along those lines this time as well. With a mesmerizing new "Retina Display", the new iPad will have nearly four times the resolution of its predecessor.
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