Every investor would love to stumble upon the perfect stock. But will you ever really find a stock that provides everything you could possibly want?

One thing's for sure: You'll never discover truly great investments unless you actively look for them. Let's discuss the ideal qualities of a perfect stock, then decide if Hasbro (Nasdaq: HAS) fits the bill.

The quest for perfection
Stocks that look great based on one factor may prove horrible elsewhere, making due diligence a crucial part of your investing research. The best stocks excel in many different areas, including these important factors:

  • Growth. Expanding businesses show healthy revenue growth. While past growth is no guarantee that revenue will keep rising, it's certainly a better sign than a stagnant top line.
  • Margins. Higher sales mean nothing if a company can't produce profits from them. Strong margins ensure that company can turn revenue into profit.
  • Balance sheet. At debt-laden companies, banks and bondholders compete with shareholders for management's attention. Companies with strong balance sheets don't have to worry about the distraction of debt.
  • Money-making opportunities. Return on equity helps measure how well a company is finding opportunities to turn its resources into profitable business endeavors.
  • Valuation. You can't afford to pay too much for even the best companies. By using normalized figures, you can see how a stock's simple earnings multiple fits into a longer-term context.
  • Dividends. For tangible proof of profits, a check to shareholders every three months can't be beat. Companies with solid dividends and strong commitments to increasing payouts treat shareholders well.

With those factors in mind, let's take a closer look at Hasbro.


What We Want to See


Pass or Fail?

Growth 5-Year Annual Revenue Growth > 15% 5.2% Fail
  1-Year Revenue Growth > 12% (2.8%) Fail
Margins Gross Margin > 35% 50.8% Pass
  Net Margin > 15% 8.9% Fail
Balance Sheet Debt to Equity < 50% 93.7% Fail
  Current Ratio > 1.3 3.29 Pass
Opportunities Return on Equity > 15% 22.2% Pass
Valuation Normalized P/E < 20 21.59 Fail
Dividends Current Yield > 2% 2.7% Pass
  5-Year Dividend Growth > 10% 21.9% Pass
  Total Score   5 out of 10

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard and Poor's. Total score = number of passes.

With just five points, Hasbro hasn't crafted a perfect stock. While the toymaker has moved well past its roots to build an interesting combination of businesses, its future remains in question.

The bullish case for Hasbro is pretty easy to understand. The company behind G.I. Joe and Transformers toys, as well as Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers board games, has become a merchandise licensing legend by turning brands into profits through bombarding consumers from every angle. Moreover, the company continues to reach out to new venues, having launched a joint venture with Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA) to promote TV shows, and also making licensing deals with movie producers to make films based on toys.

Yet bears point out that prevailing trends are working against certain part of Hasbro's operations. As Motley Fool Alpha analyst Matthew Richey points out, the company's core games and puzzles segment is vulnerable to video game products like Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Kinect, as well as tablet products from THQ (Nasdaq: THQI) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). Meanwhile, inventory levels are high, and the company's TV partnership is admittedly risky.

Whether Hasbro will head toward perfection or fall away from it remains to be seen. Even with toys falling out of favor, both it and rival Mattel (Nasdaq: MAT) have seen that those based on movies, TV shows, and other forms of entertainment have done well. With a healthy dividend that has grown quickly in recent years, shares may just be worth the somewhat high valuation they currently command.

Keep searching
No stock is a sure thing, but some stocks are a lot closer to perfect than others. By looking for the perfect stock, you'll go a long way toward improving your investing prowess and learning how to separate out the best investments from the rest.

Click here to add Hasbro to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.

Finding the perfect stock is only one piece of a successful investment strategy. Get the big picture by taking a look at our "13 Steps to Investing Foolishly."