by Aaron Levitt | March 3, 2010 8:21 am
Hollywood has just celebrated the winners of the 82nd Annual Academy Awards, including Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker, best actor Jeff Bridges and best actress Sandra Bullock. Just as each film has something different to offer viewers, many of the top flicks highlighted in the awards gala also have something to offer investors. Here are 10 Oscar stocks making a splash
right now that have something in common with these top 2009 films.
James Cameron’s runaway box office smash Avatar is based years in the future, where Earth must look to other planets for energy sources
in the wake of an ecological disaster. Though science fiction, the scenario isn’t too unrealistic. Though the company struck out in the Best Picture category, it did win for Cinemetography and Art Direction.
One company that’s doing its best to ensure access to clean and efficient energy is General Electric (GE).
The company is a top producer of wind turbines and nuclear reactor technology and is one of the leaders in green energy. GE has topped earnings estimates
four quarters in a row with an average earnings surprise of almost 14%, so this company has a bright future in any portfolio.
Sandra Bullock shined in her lead role in The Blind Side, a story about a suburban mom who reaches out to a foster kid with a difficult
childhood who is now living on the streets. The teen becomes a premier football player thanks to the love and support of his new family. Bullock won the Best Actress award for her performance.
When you think of a top football stock, it’s hard to go wrong with Under Armour (UA).
This leading sports apparel company is really hitting its stride, and Morgan Stanley just upgraded the stock as product markdown trends appear to
be improving and the company is growing its margins. With the summer months arriving, UA’s growing footprint in the athletic shoe market could
really give a boost to earnings.
District 9, the eerie sci fi film by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, is about the marooning of an enormous UFO over
South Africa. The craft’s stranded aliens are placed in a refugee camp near Johannesburg, and things really heat up when a plan is made to move
the extra terrestrials to a more remote location. Though up for the Best picture, District 9 failed to win any of the top Oscars.
When you think of spacecraft, the private company at the front of the line is obviously Boeing (BA).
The company has a long history of leading the aerospace industry and is probably working on some 21st century vessel that’s too top secret for
us to even know about right now. But this much is public record: In late January, Boeing trounced Wall Street estimates last quarter with earnings
of $1.77 per share compared with estimates of just $1.34. A big surprise like this means the company should be flying high for the coming months.
When Jenny, the 16-year-old English schoolgirl in An Education, is hit on by an older man, she is wary and doesn’t really know what
to think. But as their relationship develops, Jenny is drawn deeper into a sophisticated world of wealth and style that may be too good to be true. Like District 9, An Education had a shot at Best Picture but failed to win any awards of note.
When you think of opulent gifts for her, there is no bigger name than Tiffany (TIF).
You may think that luxury stocks aren’t seeing a lot of business right now as sugar daddies fall on hard times, but the fact is that Tiffany
trounced earnings expectations by more than 20% last quarter and is seeing a number of upwards revisions to forecasts. With its next report just around
the corner on March 22, now is the time to jump in and benefit from another great report.
In The Hurt Locker, as the war in Iraq rages on, a munitions specialist grows more and more reckless in his job of defusing bombs and protecting
American troops. His supervisor is then forced to balance the need to use the bomb expert’s skills and his need to protect his troops from a
man becoming unhinged. The Iraq drama cleaned up, winning the coveted Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay honors along with a few sound and editing awards.
Protecting U.S. troops from roadside bombs in Iraq is no easy task, but Northrop Grumman (NOC)
is one of the industry leaders in unmanned aircraft and other surveillance gear that ensures soldiers stay out of harm’s way. The company posted
a significant profit and topped forecasts in its recent Q4 report compared to a loss in the same period a year ago — a sign that this defense stock
is gathering momentum.
Quentin Tarantino plays fast and loose with WWII history in Inglourious Basterds — his gory but funny flick about a plan to blow up a
movie theater in France while Nazi leaders are in attendance. The theater’s old archive of nitrate films super-sizes the explosion. Though never a serious contender, the Tarantino flick was up for the Best Picture nod as a darkhorse nominee. It did see an Oscar, however, with Christoph Waltz’s win as Best Supporting Actor.
We’ve come a long way in movie technology and now don’t even need “film” for films, let alone highly flammable nitrate.
And the runaway leader in digital movies right now is, of course, the mail-order hit Netflix (NFLX).
The company is right up against its 52-week high after the company’s CFO estimated NFLX will ship 18% more movies in 2010 — a sure sign of
Precious tells the story of an overweight, nearly illiterate victim of horrific physical and psychological abuse from her family. But amid
all this hopelessness, the downtrodden teen finds hope in a new school where she embraces her creativity. Mo’Nique walked away with a Best Supporting Actress Role for her performance.
One of the leading for-profit education stocks is University of Phoenix operator Apollo Group (APOL).
Though the stock is down off its October highs thanks to bad debt problems, now may be a great time to snatch up this stock at a great price. The
company said on Feb. 19 that it will miss its fiscal Q2 forecast when it reports earnings on March 29, so shares have already consolidated. A disciplined
investor could see this as an opportunity to buy this stock at the bottom.
As the personal tragedies mount for the lowly physics professor, he tries to find a way through hardship in A Serious Man. That’s no easy task with a hostile
workplace, a cheating wife, difficult kids and a wacky brother-in-law. Another darkhorse pick from a popular Hollywood team, the movie struck out at the awards.
One of the many tragedies that the main character Larry must deal with is a mysterious X-ray that (it is inferred) carries news that he is gravely
ill. While much of the Coen brothers film A Serious Man is indeed a downer, many medical stocks are looking up on the prospect of health
care reform and an emphasis on preventative testing and medications. Medco Health Solutions (MHS)
is one such stock. The company’s year-end report in February revealed a 17% jump in earnings and a bright outlook for 2010.
This wonderful animated film is about a loving husband named Carl who loses his wife and best friend in his golden years and becomes a bit of a
crank as a result. But thanks to the help of a bumbling “Wilderness Explorer” tot named Russell, Carl fulfills his lifelong dream to visit
the South American wonder known as Paradise Falls. The family movie won Best Animated Picture at the Oscars.
In Up, Carl’s preferred mode of transportation is a house tethered to hundreds of helium balloons. Since the FAA frowns upon such
behavior and prefers that travelers use boring old airplanes to get around, Southwest (LUV)
is a much better way to profit from the business of travel. The company continually ranks highly with customers, and has topped Wall Street forecasts
by 50% in each of the last two quarterly reports.
George Clooney stars as a corporate downsizer who spends his days in hotels, airports and airplanes as he travels around the country laying off
other companies’ workers in Up in the Air. But as he begins to work with a young female colleague and keeps running into a seasoned female
traveler on his trips, his stone cold heart begins to stir. Though a fan favorite, Clooney and his movie missed out on the top Oscar honors.
When you think about travel in today’s tough economic climate, the best stock for investors is by far Priceline.com (PCLN).
The company’s “name your own price” model on hotel rooms and airfare is a big hit with cost-conscious consumers, and helped fuel
a dramatic earnings report a few weeks ago. Specifically, the stock jumped 10% in one day thanks to its quarterly earnings doubling over the previous
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