Last Minute Stock Ideas for Valentine’s Day

According to the National Retail Federation, total spending for Valentine’s Day related products is estimated to hit $17.6 billion this year.  On average, each victim of cupid’s love arrow is expected to spend about $126.  In addition to cards and flowers, chocolates, stuffed animals and jewelry are all popular gift ideas.  With the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 making new multi-year highs, the stocks listed below could provide a sweet-heart deal for investors upon a successful Valentine’s Day.

An estimated one million cards are sold and exchanged in the United States each Valentine’s Day, which makes it the second biggest day for the greeting card industry, according to GantDaily.  The world’s largest publicly traded greeting card company is American Greetings Corp. (NYSE:AM).  Shares gained more than 1 percent on Tuesday, and have gained more than 220 percent in the past three years.  In addition to paper cards, the company also allows customers to print cards at home or email virtual cards.

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Over a three-day period in the U.S., approximately 110 million roses will be sold.  There are two major companies that allow investors to play the flower gift-giving industry.  United Online, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNTD) and 1-800, Inc. (NASDAQ:FLWS) have gained 22 percent and 54 percent in the past three years.  Both companies trade at a relatively low P/E ratio, and United Online, Inc. even pays a dividend north of 7 percent.  The dividend is payable on February 29, 2012 to shareholders of record on February 14, 2012. It marks the 28th consecutive quarter that United Online will have paid a cash dividend to its shareholders.

If your sweetheart has a sweet-tooth, there’s a good chance that Hershey’s can help.  The chocolate company was founded in 1893 and is a staple for Americans seeking a sugar-fix.  On average, more than $1 billion of chocolate is purchased in the U.S. for Valentine’s day, representing 5 percent of the total chocolate sold in a year.  Shares of Hershey Co. (NYSE:HSY) have gained 73 percent in the past three years.  The company also pays a solid dividend of 2.5 percent.  Investors may also consider sinking their teeth into  Tootsie Roll Industries (NYSE:TR) and Kraft Inc. (NYSE:KFT).

Many people, including investors seem to find the allure of stuffed Teddy Bears and other animals irresistible.  Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. (NYSE:BBW) allows customers to create their very own personalized Teddy Bear through the Build-A-Bear Workshop.  In the past three years, shares of the company have gained 120 percent, but are nearing resistance around $9 per share.

When it comes to jewelry, Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF) is an investor’s best friend.  Shares of the New York company have surged 225 percent in the past three years.  The company was founded in 1837 and currently yields a dividend of almost 2 percent.  Tiffany & Co. operates jewelry and specialty retail stores and designs and manufactures its products through subsidiary companies. The company retails its products through stores and boutiques in the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Brazil, and wholesales outside the United States.

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Love struck Americans on a budget may find comfort in a simple dinner and movie date.  Papa John’s (NASDAQ:PZZA) is once again bringing back its novelty heart-shaped pizza.  Last year, the pizza chain sold more than 60,000 heart-shaped pizzas, and expects to sell around 75,000 this year.  “We first offered them nationally three years ago, and they’ve become widely popular,” said Papa John’s spokeswoman Tish Muldoon, adding that the company debuted them again last week.  Shares of the company have increased 86 percent in the past three years.  For the romantic movie-watchers, Sony’s (NYSE:SNE) The Vow is sitting atop the box office with $41.7 million earned over the past weekend.  However, shares of Sony have been volatile with a 50 percent decline last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric McWhinnie at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at