Sunday is Mother’s Day and, sure, you could spring for flowers, a sappy card and some decorative soaps. Or you take a more nontraditional route and give mom a gift that keeps on giving: stocks.
We asked some of our writers to suggest stock ideas that their own mothers would appreciate and cherish for years to come. We’re talking about companies that moms can relate to, and companies that, if held for the long-term, have the potential to help her recover some of the money she shelled out for bikes, braces, acne treatments and band camp. (On this special day we’ll forget about the bad haircuts, embarrassing pictures and making us wait to get our ears pierced.)
Without further ado, here are five great companies for moms and the people who love them.
For the media-savvy mom: Amazon.com (AMZN)
My Mom loves to read as much as I do. She also likes classic movies and television shows (I Love Lucy is her favorite). For all of the things she loves the best one-stop-shop is Amazon.com. Mom can act like a kid in a candy store clicking around Amazon.com.
As the world’s largest e-tailer, it’s a richly diverse business with interests in everything from clothes and cosmetics to housewares and Internet hosting. (Okay, maybe that last one’s not quite mom’s cup of tea.) That’s not all. Amazon’s Instant Video service is slowly becoming the market’s best alternative to Netflix. This is a company that has achieved 32 percent average revenue growth over the past five years with more big gains likely.
Mom would also like CEO Jeff Bezos. He is building what he calls a customer-centric business that gives visitors to the website more than they asked for. What Mom doesn’t want that? — Tim Beyers
For the mom who’s still a kid inside: Disney (DIS)
Growing up a few hours away from Disney World — and heading out to the House of Mouse several times a year — makes Disney a no-brainer on Mother’s Day. Disney isn’t just the family entertainment giant: It’s my family’s entertainment leader.
Shares of Disney hit new all-time highs this week, and it’s easy to see why. ESPN is a sports programming juggernaut. Theme park attendance has never been higher. Iron Man 3 this past weekend became the country’s largest box office opening outside of last year’s The Avengers. Paying billions for Marvel doesn’t seem so dumb now, and the same can be said for other 10-figure deals for Pixar and Lucasfilm.
This week’s quarterly report was another beauty with revenue climbing 10 percent and net income soaring 32 percent.
No one is better than Disney at milking value out of endearing family characters as it’s able to take a hit theatrical property and cash in through merchandising at its namesake stores, attractions at its theme parks, and extending that popularity through its television properties. — Rick Munarriz
For the mom who deserves a good mani-pedi: Steiner Leisure (STNR)
Some people like to offer their moms spa treatments as gifts. This year, why not consider gifting an actual spa treatment provider?
Steiner Leisure mans the floating spas on 156 of the largest cruise ships. All of the major lines rely on Steiner to pamper their passengers with relaxing spa treatments and related services.
Steiner also runs a dozen post-secondary schools across the country to teach spa services, and that’s a convenient way to recruit new hires for its growing reach. Don’t worry, landlubbers. Steiner also manages 66 land-based spas and sells its proprietary Elemis products, but cruise-based treatments remain its biggest business.
This is a growing business. Revenue climbed 16 percent last year to hit $811.5 million. Earnings growth has been spotty, but it’s hard to find a company that has a near monopoly in a high-end niche that should continue to grow as cruise lines continue to expand their fleets with larger ships. — Rick Munarriz
For moms on the go: Starbucks (SBUX)
Nobody works harder than moms trying to juggle all the responsibilities they take on in their busy lives. Among the customers you see in line every day at Starbucks locations around the country, you’ll find plenty of moms getting a much-needed pick-me-up to start their days, whether it’s the grande hot chocolate my wife drinks or the classic short mild-roast black my own mom would probably have ordered back in the day.
They’re clearly not the only ones, as Starbucks saw its total sales jump 11 percent during the first three months of 2013 to a new record of $3.6 billion, and the company boosted its own projections for even further growth for the rest of the year and beyond.
Starbucks has gone well beyond coffee, offering tea, juice, and a variety of baked goods to appeal to a wider customer base and drive its recent success. Assisted by its extensive international expansion efforts, Starbucks has built a global reputation not just for quality products but also for ethical behavior and corporate responsibility.
Moms will especially appreciate the company’s partnership with the charitable organization Every Mother Counts, which is seeking to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for mothers around the world. And with plenty of growth left in its future, Starbucks stock makes an appropriate choice for moms on the go. — Dan Caplinger
For movie buff moms: Netflix (NFLX)
It’s easier than ever for Mom to hop on the streaming video bandwagon, especially when so many televisions are coming out that already have a Netflix feature. (And, yes, mom, I’ll come over and help you set it up.)
Netflix is a treasure trove for romantic comedies, family flicks, primetime soaps and classic movies. It’s also a company that can give mom’s stock portfolio an uplifting boost.
For starters, this company is riding high on a gangbusters quarterly earnings call. Netflix beat analyst expectations by raking in $1.02 billion in revenue, an 18 percent boost from the last quarter. It also brought in 3 million new streaming subscribers, and even announced that at 29.2 million domestic subscribers, had just passed HBO’s 28.7 million.
With popular shows like House of Cards and Arrested Development tucked safely under its belt, mom will be happy she tuned into Netflix in the years to come. — Caroline Bennett
Motley Fool contributors Caroline Bennett and Dan Caplinger have no positions in any stocks mentioned. Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney, Netflix, and Steiner Leisure Limited. Tim Beyers owns shares of Walt Disney and Netflix and has the following options: Long Jan 2014 $50 Calls on Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, Netflix, Starbucks, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Netflix, Starbucks, and Walt Disney.