2 Refreshing Stocks for the Holidays

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The holiday season had a healthy start, despite a weak economy. Specifically, liquor stores will see profits boost this season. "A lot of people don't realize that the busiest wine holiday of the year is actually Thanksgiving," said Bruce Long of Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits. "Also, October, November and December are probably the largest three months of the year for anybody in the wine and spirits industry."

The Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (DABC) reported 130% hike in alcohol sales on the eve of Thanksgiving. For the first half of the year, whisky shipments from Scotland soared 19%, after declining in the same period prior year, according to data from the Scotch Whisky Association. Export values rose 22% to $2.9 billion for the first half, outperforming the 10% growth seen in 2010.

DABC expects significant liquor sales during the holiday season. On typical weekdays, statewide liquor and wine sales averaged about $600,000 per day, while Thanksgiving eve sales boomed to more than $2 million, topping $1.6 million recorded previous year. A research report by J.P Morgan shows that sale of wine and constellation wine during October jumped 4.3% and 2%, respectively from the previous month.

A few alcoholic and non-alcoholic stocks are likely to turn favorite during the holiday season, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg.

1. Coca-Cola ( KO) is a leading non-alcoholic beverage company with a market cap exceeding $152 billion. Of the 22 analysts covering the stock, 86% rate a buy and 14% recommend a hold with an average target price of $75.07, about 12% higher than current levels. The company has a current trailing P/E of 17.88x, compared to peer Hansen Natural Corporation's ( HANS) P/E of 31.68x.

For 2011 third quarter, the company reported EPS of 95 cents, up 8% from the prior year. Sales increased 45% to $12.2 billion from the year-ago quarter. Starting 2012, the company plans to invest $2 billion in India over the next five years to expand its non-alcoholic ready-to-drink (NARTD) beverage market. Coco-Cola declared a quarterly dividend of 47 cents per common share payable Dec. 15 to shareholders of record Dec. 1.

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2. Anheuser-Busch ( BUD) is a leading global brewer with a market cap exceeding $96 billion. Of the nine analysts covering the stock, eight affirm a buy with an average target price of $65.88 from current levels, up 10%. The company has a trailing P/E of 19.73x, compared to peer Boston-Beer Company's ( SAM) P/E of 28.88x.

For 2011 third quarter, EPS rose to $1.09 from 94 cents in the previous quarter. Net profit attributable to shareholders grew 6.3% during the quarter. Busch expects net capital expenditure for 2011 to remain at $3.1 billion, foreseeing similar levels for fiscal 2012. Anheuser-Busch is likely to win approval from the Brazilian government to sell beer in stadiums during the 2014 Soccer World Cup, which could boom sales going forward.

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