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Five Valentine’s Day Stocks that Could Blossom

Ian Wyatt

Valentine’s Day is a time to shower that special someone with love and affection. It’s also a day to shower them with gifts.

Americans will spend an estimated $20 billion this Valentine’s Day. Dining out will account for nearly half that spending, according to the retail industry research firm IBISWorld. Another $2.35 billion will go toward romantic getaways at exotic hotels or intimate bed and breakfasts.

But much of that money will be spent on things like candy, flowers, jewelry, clothing and greeting cards. With that in mind, I have identified five public companies – one from each category – that should make a killing this Valentine’s Day.

A big day would help set the table for a big quarter. And a profitable quarter could make for a rising share price.

Here are five Valentine’s Day stocks to keep an eye on:

  • Hershey (NYSE: HSY): Chocolates are typically the Valentine’s Day candy of choice. And no brand is more commonly associated with chocolate than Hershey. Hershey’s Kisses and Hugs are always big sellers this time of year, as are the company’s heart-shaped Valentine’s Day boxes of chocolates. Those are a major reason why January-March quarter was Hershey’s most profitable last year – and why, the last two years, the stock averaged a 15% bounce in the three months that followed V-Day.
  • 1-800-Flowers (NASDAQ: FLWS): Online flower orders are on the rise, and 1-800-Flowers has become the sector’s most recognizable brand. The company is expecting to receive 1 million orders this Valentine’s Day. And it’s not just for flowers – chocolates, fruit baskets and other treats are other popular items. While the company hasn’t posted a first-quarter profit in four years, it’s coming off its most profitable quarter in some time.
  • Tiffany (NYSE: TIF): There are thousands of companies that sell fine jewelry. But Tiffany’s is traditionally one of the most revered brands, and the company is always aggressive in its Valentine’s Day campaigns.
  • American Greetings (NYSE: AM): You’re probably filling out a greeting card right now, scribbling away sweet nothings to your Valentine. That’s where American Greetings makes its money. Shares of the seasonal card maker have gotten a nice post-Valentine’s Day push each of the last two years, rising 11% over the next six weeks in 2011 and 9% in five weeks last year.
  • Limited Brands (NYSE: LTD): It may make you blush, but there’s no denying that women love receiving sexy lingerie as their Valentine’s Day gift. Victoria’s Secret – one of six companies Limited Brands owns – is by far the biggest seller of women’s lingerie. While it only accounts for a portion of Limited Brands’ sales – Bath & Body Words, White Barn Candle Company are among Limited’s other recognizable brands – Victoria’s Secret’s Valentine’s Day sales should its parent company a nice mid-February boost.