It was great to see you again last night, Martha. Oh, don't worry. You don't know me. We've never swapped stock tips or talked shop about pruning shears or petit four serving trays. It was just refreshing to see you on TV last night, debuting with your own version of The Apprentice.
I think the exposure will do you -- and Martha Stewart Living
Teaming up with producer Mark Burnett was a brilliant move. He certainly helped make Donald Trump a household name again. The fact that The Apprentice is a business-oriented show means that you will also have more than a few Fools watching. Last year, Dayana Yochim, Tim Beyers, and I shared a couch every week as we broke down the financial lessons behind Trump's fiscal challenges.
We're all over the map this season. Dayana is still recovering from the show's eclectic interviewing process. Tim is hanging out in front of Trump Plaza, hoping to get The Donald's ear. That leaves only me here with a few choice stock picks for you.
I had to think long and hard about these selections. I tried to drum up three recommendations that would jibe well with your lifestyle, but that were also solid candidates for capital appreciation.
Curious? I figured you would be. Tim's got three stocks for Trump, too. Let's get started on your batch.
Back in January, you announced that you would be closing your online store. At the time, I thought it was a bad move. The seeds of revival were just being planted. Why ditch your dot-com storefront in the reinvention process? However, the company decided to spare MarthasFlowers.com from the e-tail clearance sale. But why? Because it was very profitable, of course. Your company's flower shop is run by none other than Provide Commerce.
The stock was recommended earlier this year for readers of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter. Martha, that's a premium research service where we seek out promising growth stocks just as they're starting to disrupt their moribund industries.
Speaking of premium research, what were you doing messing with a full-service broker? That cost you some serious prison time, not to mention about six "uncomfortable" months of wearing that unfashionable ankle bracelet, when you think about it. That's because things would have been easier for you had you made your own investing decisions through a discount broker without a chatty account manager.
You're smart enough to go it alone. You also have the stock market field experience. It's not just a matter of turning to a discount broker such as Ameritrade
As far as Ameritrade goes, I really like its recent acquisition of TD Waterhouse over the summer. Consolidation in the industry continues, and that will make the remaining players even stronger. Yes, a lot of attention has been dedicated to price wars on the commissions front. That's seen as great for consumers but not so good for the discounters. I see it differently. I see the companies building out their account bases as a way to market even more traditional banking and personal finance services. This is just the beginning for the discounters. Things will get better.
I don't expect you to agree with me on this last pick, but we don't all have the drive, energy, or time you have to make our homes gorgeous. That's where Income Investor pick ServiceMaster
The fact that the stock yields 3.3% attracted the attention of Income Investor's Mathew Emmert in last year's April issue. The reason to continue to like ServiceMaster is that, this year, the company's net margins keep improving with earnings growth outpacing the steady top line improvements.
Is that three? Yes. Three. I didn't go with Sears Holdings
I also didn't go with General Electric
Maybe you can help the healing process. Maybe you can take the NBC peacock, use it as a feather duster, and get the network looking all clean and shiny again. I sure hope so. In the meantime, if you see Tim or Dayana hanging out in your living room, please show some restraint. We really miss hanging out on that couch together.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz doesn't condone using live peacocks as feather dusters. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.