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Market Valentines Anyone?

By Dian Vujovich

Stuck for a Valentine’s gift? You could pass on the flowers and diamonds and buy your sweetie a company—as in shares of the companies that sell those kinds of sweetheart goodies.

Sooner or later investors who have gotten out of the stock market will likely tiptoe back in. While picking the right time to do so is an individual as the assets in one’s portfolio, the current market does offer some attractive buys. Particularly, for the lovers of Valentine’s Day goods and services.

Brent Wilsey, president of Wilsey Asset Management emailed me a handful of Valentine Day related companies he’s found attractive. In the investment biz for over two decades, Wilsey likes these companies because of things like their current cash flows and attractive P/Es.

I’m not recommending his picks but did check out their current prices and thought if nothing else, their names could make for some interesting cocktail conversation over the next few days.

Wilsey’s suggestions include:

-Inter Parfums, Inc. (symbol: IPAR). Ah, the smell of sweet success from a who-knew company. IPAR sells perfumes under brand names such as Burberry, Lanvin and Nickel; has a strong balance sheet; and late today (2/11/09) was selling at $6.17 per share. Its 52-week low share price was $4.64 and its high, $19.96.

-1-800-FLOWERS.COM (symbol: FLWS). Wilsey’s not as keen on this company as he is on say Inter Parfums, but said that its PE makes it look attractive going forward. Plus, it’s cheap. Late today (2/11/09) FLWS was selling at $2.30 per share. The 52-week low and high per share prices were $2.23 and $9.26 respectively.

-Tiffany & Co. (symbol: TIF). Who doesn’t love getting something wrapped in a Tiffany blue box and all tied up with ribbon. Based upon the company’s fundamentals Wilsey figures that Tiffany could handle a long down turn and still pay their bills. When I researched it today, the stock was trading at $21.04. Over the past 52-weeks it has traded as high as $49.98 per share and as low as $16.75.

-Steiner Leisure (symbol: STNR). According to Wilsey, Steiner operates 53 spas and offers services on 130 cruise ships; has grown their sales 7% year-over-year with earnings-per-share up 5% for that same period; kept all debt off its balance sheet; and returned 25% on its equity over the last 12 months. Selling at $26.69 late this afternoon, (2/11/09), over the past 52-weeks the share price has been as high as $39.70 and as low as $17.21.

-And then there’s Cheesecake Factory Incorporated (symbol: CAKE). I love the joint but we all know restaurants are having a rough go of it lately. That said, Wilsey pointed out that CAKE has seen sales grow 10% year-over-year and has also kept its debt in check with a 60% debt-to-equity – that’s one-third of the industry average. Price late today was $9.36. Over the last 52-weeks its low was $4.96 and high, $23.25.

As I said earlier, just something to think about.

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

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