ACV)), a beautifully run company that I first wrote about
in August . Back then, I said the stock was a classic defensive play that had done well amid the bear market on steady increases in revenue, income and cash flow. This story was underappreciated then, and it continues to be now, because the company has a couple of weird odds and ends in addition to its strong-selling V05 shampoo line: a line of food products such as Molly McButter and Mrs. Dash, and a terrific chain of retail shops called Sally Beauty.
There's no doubt that Alberto-Culver can continue to succeed on its own. It obviously plays great defense for conservative portfolio managers, but it is a growth-oriented retailer in disguise. Look for the potential to trade into the mid-$60s over the next year, with or without the buzz from a potential new partnership. Technicians will note that it gapped up from a flag pattern on Thursday, and that is typically bullish. Finally today, this tidbit: In 1986, the first three weeks of the year were negative, but the market rebounded for a 26.5% gain through June. I'm not saying stocks will put up those kinds of numbers now, even though energy prices may start abating, but it's a statistical anomaly to put in the back of your mind amid the negativity that hangs like a toxic cloud over stocks now.