NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The gay marriage issue is once again on the front burner, and while many debate if President Barack Obama's move will aid or hinder the administration politically, we can spend our time looking at ways to profit.
One issue not in dispute is that marriage is big business and appears poised to become bigger. Last year saw the average wedding budget hit more than $27,000, according to XO Group (XOXO), with wedding dresses at around $1,100, floral expenses at $1,900 and engagement rings costing $5,130.
Here are 10 stocks positioned to take advantage of an increase in weddings:
XO Group, a $230 million dollar marketcap company, operates wedding-related Web sites including TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com. This stock has growth priced in, with a forward price-to-earnings multiple of 22.5. The high price multiple is supported with encouraging sales numbers -- sales last year were $124.2 million, up from $112.8 the year before and $106.4 million in 2009. The bottom line is also growing, with $6 million falling to the bottom line.XO Group is thinly traded, with an average daily volume of 170,000 shares. XO Group's chart looks intriguing with a technical analyst view. The main 200-day moving average is rounding and poised to move higher, with the smaller moving averages above the key 200-day moving average. The price is also trading above the 200-day moving average, providing trend followers with a bullish sentiment. American Express (AXP), a $68 billion market cap company, provides many services, including travel planning, travelers checks and charge cards. Other credit card companies will certainly benefit, but the combination of the various services offered combined with relative size and profits pushes American Express to the top of my credit card wedding list. United Online (UNTD), through its subsidiaries, provides consumer products and services over the Internet in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. The company operates FTD Florist. United Online shares trade an average of 856,000 shares per day and has a market cap of $353 Million. With flowers for a wedding costing nearly $2,000 on average, companies such as FTD are sure to benefit. The stock has performed poorly in the past few months, falling below $4 a share. Along with FTD is 1-800-Flowers.com (FLWS), but 800 Flowers is less liquid, with only 107,000 shares traded per day on average and a market cap of $200 million. United Online's revenue took a dip from $990 million in 2009 after a record year, but last year had nearly $900 million in sales. A boost in weddings could help propel United Online to records in revenue and profits. Analyst earnings estimates are for 15 cents per share this quarter.
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