Summer is usually regarded as the most enjoyable part of the year. The little kids are in camp, and the big kids are out enjoying the fruits of their labor -- yachts, jet skis, island-hopping and maybe some Jamaican rum and a good cigar.
But while summer is usually a happier time than the doldrums of winter, the market historically has performed poorly, with the quarter beginning in July returning an average of 0.1% in the last 60 years.
There are many theories regarding the summer malaise. Wall Streeters are all in the Hamptons. Nobody does deals in the summer. Retail investors are too happy and busy enjoying themselves to lose money in the market. I say that is all nonsense; there is money to be made in stocks in the warmest months, even money in what I call "summer stocks."
These stocks are stocks that provide services or products that one associates with summer or supports summer products. While the obvious companies like hotels are certainly such stocks, they are not going to get you the outsized returns we are seeking. To find the best summer plays, you have to dig deep in the sand.
I would love to buy companies that make all their money in the U.S. from charcoal and suntan lotion, but those companies don't exist, and if they did, they would be bid up in the presummer months just like hotels. You could take it a step deeper, buying companies that help make charcoal and suntan lotion, but even those are hard to come by.
So delving further still into the season, I have found four summer-inspired stocks that should perform well as the weather warms spirits:
A Mighty Oakley
Sunglasses are a staple of summer, and nobody does sunglasses better than Oakley.
More than 65% of the company's revenue comes from eyewear products, and the stock has sustained a recent dip due to a poor quarter that saw earnings declines after delivery delays in the international markets. Oakley recently launched a new product line geared toward active women, which has fared very well to date, and has also announced that it will launch a "Design Your Own Sunglasses" promotion in June that the company believes -- and I concur -- will be a tremendous growth opportunity.
At a recent $16.34, Oakley trades at an EV/EBITDA of 10.257 and an EV/cash flow of 14.55. It has $30 million in cash, and the debt component of EBITDA is a meager 0.27. Royce & Associates, a value-focused fund, is a holder of this stock, and you should be, too.
This One Keeps Running
Primarily a battery concern, Energizer Holdings is a year-round company, but it will be more visible in the next few months due to a promotional effort with the summer release of the Disney-Pixar movie
. Energizer trades at an EV/EBITDA of 8 and an EV/cash flow of 20. The company has $82.2 million in cash and $1.48 billion in debt. The debt/EBITDA is approximately 3, which is very manageable, and over the trailing 12 months, it has generated $410 million in operating cash flow. Shares were recently trading at $52.45. Value investor Ariel Capital Management is the owner of 11% of the company's outstanding shares.
Hit the Open Seas
They say the two best days in a boat-owner's life is the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it. That said, Wall Streeters love their boats, and Brunswick is in the boat business.
Brunswick recently garnered the attention of Ricky Sandler of Eminence Capital, who filed a 13D on Brunswick on April 19. Brunswick is coming off a tough quarter that saw its income drop 29%. The company trades at an EV/EBITDA of 6 and an EV/cash flow of 10. It has $216 million in cash and $724 million in debt, and its debt/EBITDA is a little over 1. I am looking for Sandler to push for some value-enhancing change sometime soon. Nonetheless, this stock represents a true value play, as it is trading at $36.13, toward the lower end of its 52-week range.
Ogling the Stars
Constellation Brands is an international producer and marketer of alcohol brands with a broad portfolio across the wine, imported beer and spirits categories. Some of the company's brands include Corona, Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Tsingtao, St. Pauli Girl, Black Velvet, Fleischmann's and Chi-Chi's.
The bottom line is people drink in good times, people drink in bad times (perhaps more) and people certainly have a cerveza at the beach in the summer. The company trades at an EV/EBITDA of 9.61 and an EV/cash flow of 20. It has essentially no cash and $2.81 billion in debt. The debt/EBITDA is around 3.5, and it generated $435 million in operating cash flow over the trailing 12 months. The stock has traded down to $24.11 from last summer's highs of $31, and this to me represents a buying opportunity.
Overall, this summer is going to be a stock-picker's market, but I believe we will see a boost from these somewhat fallen angels over the next few months as their businesses heat up during the hot season.
At the time of publication, Altucher and/or his fund was long BC, although positions may change at any time.
James Altucher is a managing partner at Formula Capital, an alternative asset management firm that runs several quantitative-based hedge funds as well as a fund of hedge funds. He is also the author of
Trade Like a Hedge Fund
Trade Like Warren Buffett
. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Altucher appreciates your feedback;
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