Since that time, I think the rest of the food group has gotten even more desperate to become MORE natural and organic and it would make a ton of sense for Nestle, General Mills (GIS) or Kellogg's (K), all of which are challenged for growth, to snap up Hain for $120 a share, 50% above where it is now but a bargain for them because it would immediately raise their price-to-earnings multiples given the growth acceleration Hain would present all of them once the deal closes.
The Cost-Conscious Consumer
We've got a consumer who -- rich or poor -- no longer feels wealthy and that's a consumer worth investing in. There are two plays on this theme that make the most sense to invest in: Costco (COST) and TJX (TJX). Costco has prided itself on offering the lowest price for merchandise because it makes its profit on the Costco cards so many of us proudly carry.
I recently pulled up with Craig Jellinek, Costco's chief executive officer, and I am convinced that he is following perfectly in the tradition of retired CEO Jim Sinegal in offering the treasure-hunt experience that is fabulous for customers, but a nightmare for suppliers because Costco rotates through new product constantly and then pulls it just when it feels that the goods have gotten too commonplace. It's the secret -- besides those incredibly good samples and the ultra-low prices -- to the chain's strength.
[Read: Store Credit Cards Are Back With a Vengeance]
What's the fourth theme? The bounty that comes from a very weak Antitrust Department that seems to bless deals that would be vetoed out of hand by any Republican administration. The biggest beneficiary? The airlines.
[Read: IRS Announces 2014 Standard Mileage Rates] I had favored Delta (DAL), which I think can easily advance some 50% from these levels if oil stays tame, although its ownership of a refinery allows for a very favorable cost advantage. But the ridiculously anti-competitive merger that was the US Airways-American Airlines deal, I think could lead to a double in the next 18 months for the combined company, which will trade as AAL. History has shown that when airlines are allowed to merge, the synergies are awesome and the possibilities for fare increases remarkable and seemingly endless. Previously, when we have had these combinations, they ultimately ended badly for shareholders because discounters came in to compete and ruin the margins. But this time there are many things working against the potential discount entries. First, they need new planes and the lines for planes from Boeing (BA) and Airbus are ridiculously long. You can't get a Dreamliner until 2020 and the queue for the 777 is already beyond the reach of a startup. Normally, startups would simply purchase old planes and get things up and running instantly. But the old planes now use too much fuel and fuel can equal 50% of the costs of operating the airline, which is just too prohibitive to compete with the majors, which are outfitted with the latest and least-jet-fuel-consuming aircraft.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV