Stocking up on romance
At this time of year, love is certainly in the air.
But is it in your portfolio?
Aha, never thought of it quite that way, did you?
That's because you've foolishly been thinking more about cash flows
than love bites.
We bet you never even considered the romantic repercussions
of your wealth-building maneuvers, have you?
"The average investment portfolio looks
more like Don Trump than Don Juan," says Michael Webb, the
author-husband the media dubs "the Martha Stewart of Romance."
"A man who invests in 'romantic' companies
is certainly more likely to give them his business."
That's why we incurable romantics at Bankrate have
come up with a list of stocks we're sure will convince your significant
other just what a lovable sort you really are. They may or may not
make you rich, but they could help you cash in on a totally different
sort of reward.
LVMH, Moët Hennessy Louis
Vuitton (Nasdaq: LVMHY): It calls itself the world's leading
luxury-products group: Your Valentine knows it as the home of Dom
Pérignon. Of course, you'll also score with this Paris-based
company because you're buying into Christian Dior, Guerlain and
Givenchy perfumes; Christian Lacroix and Louis Vuitton fashion and
leather goods; and Ebel watches -- all designed to set her heart
Extra credit: Compliment her sense
of fashion by mentioning you know this investment now gets her into
Victoria's Secret (NYSE: IBI):
Just because your underwear is in a bunch (see Chapter 11 filings
for Ithaca, Beltex and Fruit-of-the Loom) doesn't mean hers isn't
smooth sailing. Picking Victoria's Secret from the pack means you
recognize the difference between sexy and degrading. So slip into
the habit of calling her your Dream Angel.
Extra credit: Bath and Body Works --
same company. Enough said.
Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF):
If it sparkles in the window on New York's Fifth Avenue, imagine
how it will polish your macho image. Today only Tiffany's sells
its brand, which makes it a jewel in a lover's treasure chest.
Extra credit: When you're a sweetheart
investor, this retailer's distinctive blue packaged gift won't leave
you in the traditional holiday red.
The Ritz-Carlton (NYSE: MAR):
Want her to revel in the morning after? Invest in a breakfast in
bed where the feather beds boast 300 thread count Egyptian cotton
sheets. It's said diamonds are a girl's best friend -- shower her
with this host of five-star diamond awards in pampering.
Extra credit: Let her know she's a
keeper by using your insider information to reserve a room at the
Ritz-y Grand Cayman property when it opens in 2003.
Furniture Brands International
(NYSE: FBN): Speaking of beds, lay her flat with your knowledge
of FBI. This parent company for Broyhill, Lane and Thomasville knows
its way around a bedroom.
Extra credit: Already this year, Furniture
Brands purchased Henredon, Drexel Heritage and Maitland-Smith to
prove its size matters.
Russ Berrie and Company Inc.
(NYSE: RUS): The company that vows to "make someone
happy" can certainly light a fire in your relationship. After
all, women snuggle up to teddy bears and other irresistible stuffed
animals -- Russ's No. 1 merchandise product in a $20 billion business.
Other lines include baby gifts -- sure to make her gaga.
Extra credit: Russ opened a Home Décor
division last month, giving you a chance to demonstrate your hearth-and-home
Ralston-Purina (NYSE: RAL):
Know why advertisers flock to puppies? Because women can't resist
anything associated with these cute-yet-vulnerable heartthrobs.
Show your soft underbelly by cuddling up to the country's largest
pet food producer.
Extra credit: Impress her by letting
drop that Ralston-Purina is so serious about feeding our beloved
pets, it recently spun off its Eveready battery business, although
according to Hoover's Online, R.P. clings to a 29 percent share
of this instant energy source.
Steiner Leisure Ltd. (Nasdaq:
STNR): Trust the people who operate the spas and salons on
more than 100 cruise ships to penetrate the deepest layers of her
skin -- and heart. And why stop there? Steiner also aspires to the
spa resort niche, as well as cosmetics. Even its home base in Nassau,
Bahamas, smacks of exotic.
Extra credit: Steiner employees at
sea massage more than 30,000 bodies, deep cleanse 15,000 faces,
blow wave 6,000 heads of hair and manicure approximately 6,000 pairs
of hands weekly. Wise lovers imitate this sort of high-touch contact
outside the portfolio!
Avon Books (NYSE: NWS):
This division of HarperCollins often earns credit for launching
the fiery historical romance genre, introducing names like Kathleen
Woodiwiss (The Flame and the Flower) and Rosemary Rogers (Sweet,
Savage Love) in the '70s. Prove you know your way around her covers.
Extra credit: Sexy tidbits to whisper:
According to American Bookseller Association reports and Ingram's
catalog of all book releases in 2000, romance fiction comprises
37.2 percent of all popular paperback fiction sold in North America.
Mystery/detective/suspense grabs 28.1 percent, followed by religious/occult/westerns/male
adventure/general history/adult/movie tie-ins (14.6 percent). Science
fiction/fantasy captured 7.2 percent.
Steakhouse Partners Inc. (OTC:
SIZL): Prove how rare your love is with this sizzler. These
chefs serve approximately 6.8 million steak and prime-rib meals
annually through the Hungry Hunter's, Hunter's Steakhouse, Mountain
Jack's and Carvers brands.
Extra credit: A Penn State study reveals
that parents who show concern about their daughters' weight and
restrict their diets actually foster low self-esteem. Show her true
worth by encouraging her to indulge on your livestock.
American Greetings (NYSE: AM):
OK, we often credit Hallmark with inventing American's cherished
holidays, but those VIPs are privately funded. Instead, let this
firm's poet greet your significant other. Sometimes No. 2 cares
enough to let others in on the benefits.
Extra credit: American Greetings's
focus-group studies show men often feel uncomfortable with cards
that are too sentimental. That's why AG crowns itself king of the
pithy sentiments for you.
Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI):
The movie renter claimed 48 million member accounts in 2000. No
wonder a Gallup Poll claims Blockbuster enjoys nearly 100 percent
brand recognition among film fans. Chairman and CEO John F. Antioco
got his start as a management trainee at the 7-Eleven and later
ran Taco Bell for PepsiCo, which makes him a regular Joe. Chalk
up one for the common man and elevate your romance ticket at the
Extra credit: Throw in shares of CFM
Majestic (that's sweet nothings for Majestic, Vermont Castings and
Northern Flame gas- and wood-burning fireplaces), and a handful
of Frito-Lay stocks to munch (Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos, Lay's, Ruffles,
Rold Gold, Tostitos or Cracker Jack -- your call) to complete the
Inc. (NYSE: JNJ): Only sensitive studs dare to put their
money into a manufacturer that specializes in oral contraceptives
and menopausal therapies.
Extra credit: You really rise to your
responsibilities when you add shares of Aussie-owned Pacific Dunlop
Limited (Nasdaq: PDLPY) condoms to your game.
-- Posted: Jan. 29, 2002