The Brett Favre situation is just plain messy and everyone involved looks bad. I noted in an earlier column that this fiasco had the ability to taint Brett's Hall of Fame career.As the details unravel and the "he said-she said" continues, it's hard to know what really happened with his initial retirement. But I know that it's messy now and can potentially get a lot, lot worse Favre signed re-instatement papers but has not sent them to the NFL offices as of Sunday. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers reported to training camp on Sunday with Aaron Rodgers set as their starting quarterback. Favre said General Manager Ted Thompson asked him not to come to camp and to give the sides a few more days to figure things out. However the sides seem so far apart, the request is likely only delaying the inevitable. Can you imagine being at Packers training camp if Brett Favre reports even though he is unwanted by management? Talk about awkward. The Pack want him retired, but that probably won't happen. So, in all likelihood, Favre will be wearing another uniform next season. It sounds as if he wants to be in Minnesota - I bet he wants a shot at revenge twice a season against the Pack and compete against them for the division title. In the meantime, the Packers are listening to trade offers and hoping to send him far away where they will hopefully won't have to see him, hear him, or face him anytime soon.
It's messy now and no one involved looks good. However, today I'm giving you a pick that is sure to make you look sharp. Ralph Lauren ( RL) is a company that not only makes stylish clothing, but is a good investment. Shares closed at $60.13 on Friday. The stock has lost more than 32% of its value in the last year, and is trading well off its 52-week high of $93.49. It's a bit above its low of $50.55, but still beaten down. I like this company for a number of reasons. Last month, Morgan Keegan analyst Brad Stephens upgraded Ralph Lauren to "market perform" from "underperform." The stock has done well despite analyst downgrades. In fact, in the note that was published in June, Stephens said that if Ralph Lauren delivers promising results in the most recent quarter, its stock has room to run. Ralph Lauren is scheduled to release its earnings on August 6, which is a week from this upcoming Wednesday. In the previous quarter, the company easily beat estimates, boasting a 41% increase in its net income. It also predicted sales growth for the current quarter. While its unclear how its "American Living" line of clothes at J.C. Penney ( JCP) will pan out, personally, I like the company's prospects internationally. In the last quarter, the company noted strong sales in Europe. Additionally, I read an article recently that spoke about how China is now the world's third largest consumer of luxury goods and that Chinese consumers are snapping up items from companies like Ralph Lauren. The article said that by 2015, China's consumers should be responsible for buying 29% of the globe's luxury items.
In addition - I like that fact that Ralph Lauren is sponsoring the U.S. Olympic team. The athletes will don Ralph Lauren attire at both the opening and closing ceremonies as well as in the Olympic village in Beijing. Keep moving the chains!