History bears witness to the powers of love; the rise and fall of nations, heroes driven to action and righteous sacrifice in the name of a loved one. But we look back through rose-colored glasses. If it’s the hard, cold facts of love you’re looking for, look no further than recent research from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), in collaboration with Roy Morgan.
Australians are set to spend $415 million on Valentine’s Day gifts this year, according to research. A whopping $135 million of that comes from the pockets of people aged 25 to 34, whose contribution is higher than any other age group, followed by a healthy $129 million from people aged 35 to 49 years.
While it can be difficult to choose the perfect gift for your loved one, trying to score points with the markets can be even more confusing.
Luckily, we have the numbers handy to guide us through these love tunnels.
Historical ASX performance
We’ve all heard it: past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Nevertheless, to get an idea of what we can expect from the markets around V Day, it is always interesting to look at the data.
Looking back to 2012, there is a clear trend for the ASX 200 to do better on Valentine’s Day week than the week before – on average, by 0.68%. The biggest rise in the past decade came in 2014, when the core market swelled by 3.12%.
So what really happens during Valentine’s week? On average, close to nothing. Looking at how the market closed on Monday and Friday from 2012 to 2021, there is an average increase of 0.01%.
But that’s not the full picture. The V Day week only closed lower than it opened four times, but one year was a doozy; in 2016, the ASX 200 saw a fall of 4.22%, which beats most gains. Even the 3.06% increase of 2014.
Most lovers do not seek to make a significant contribution to the folklore of romantic gestures. The tried-and-true combination of flowers and chocolate will be well represented this February 14, with 39% of respondents planning to go the floral route, and 28% sticking to chocolate, food or alcohol.
That’s good news for ASX newcomer Lynch Group (ASX:LGL), an Australian flower grower and wholesaler that closed in on its lowest price yet in January. Supermarkets like Woolworths (ASX:WOW) and Coles (ASX:COL) (both of which stock Lynch Group flowers) will no doubt benefit from the last-minute rush as all those Cadbury Casanovas descend on February 13. Looking further ahead, there’s likely to be plenty of kisses, courtesy of global chocolate giant Hershey’s (NYSE:HSY).
One night only
It appears the pandemic is continuing to affect consumer confidence when it comes to dining out, with only 8% of survey participants expressing any interest in dining out for the special day. But that doesn’t mean eating and eating won’t be on the schedule, it will just be done at home.
And for those dining at home, Uber (NYSE: UBER) and its subsidiary Uber Eats are likely to be the dish of the day. An interesting note for investors? Uber’s stock price hit yearly highs around the week of Feb. 14 in 2020 (just under $40) and 2021 (around $61). And this year, they have been climbing since January 28.
Cupid could also land a big one on Treasury Wine Estates Limited (ASX:TWE). January’s decline sent TWE prices tumbling, but still leaves them in a strong year-over-year position. It’s a similar story for Australian Vintage (ASX:AVG), which saw a jump of around 10% between February 12 and 17, 2021.
Top of the line
Despite the strong presence of jewelry advertising at this time of year, only 9% of respondents expected to enter this category. But given the higher purchase price compared to a box of chocolates, this metric can be a bit misleading. It may be worth considering that the ARA survey was limited to Australians, who could still see Michael Hill International Ltd. (ASX: MHJ) in a comfortable location, thanks to its retail presence both locally and in North America.
Overall, the appeal of luxury goods at retail remains strong; so strong, in fact, that Chanel has been able to raise the prices of some of its most recognizable handbags by up to 60% since November 2019. Whether or not that reflects production costs and currency exchange rate fluctuations, c It’s a good sign that brands are confident in the appeal of luxury.
All things considered, LVMH (EPA: LVMH), formerly known as Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, covered all the bases on V-Day with its luxury and liquor retail offerings.
Discreetly packaged fun
We won’t beat around the bush too much here, plenty of people will be inviting new pleasure helpers into their lives this Valentine’s Day (but you already knew that). And yes, there are listed companies whose shares go up when you do. Delecta Limited (ASX:DLC), for example, will profit from the sale of erotic toys through its physical and online sex shops. And if that’s not your thing, it’s also in mining and exploration (no, those aren’t understatements, they also dig holes for uranium).
If it’s a romantic Valentine’s Day comeback you’re looking for, there’s plenty to do. A quick look at the search revealed several categories to watch out for, and maybe even offset your own V Day expenses.
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