Ever been to New York? Wall Street is a meat market, and rightfully so. Investors are looking for the same traits that singles are: Honesty, integrity, a willingness to commit, and smoking hot fundamentals. But to be successful, you've got to know what makes every ticker tick. Use these three pickup lines to help you find the stocks of your dreams.
1. What's a stock like you doing in a place like this?
Sometimes you'll find the hottest stocks in the most boring places. And when you scour those out-of-the-way locales, you're likely to pick up your pretty little undervalued, underfollowed stock on the cheap.
2. If I told you that you had a beautiful balance sheet, would you hold it against me?
Sometimes finding great stocks is as easy as looking for cash on the balance sheet. Why? Great companies throw off tons of cash. It's a truism, but that's why truisms are, well, true.
But even better than cash flow from operations is a metric known as owner earnings, which at Hidden Gems we calculate as:
net income + depreciation + amortization - capital expenditures
This figure is a good indication of how much cash the company actually banks after regular business maintenance costs, and it can help investors better understand a firm's ability to service and pay down debt. Hidden Gems recommendation Marine Products
3. What's your major?
Every company needs a focus. Some of the greatest stock market success stories are from companies that decided to concentrate operations on high-quality revenues.
Take a glance at Apple's
For most of its 20-year history, Coldwater Creek
Hidden Gems pick Middleby is another example. New management decided to stop selling refrigerators and deli cases and focus on just one product: high-margin ovens for restaurant chains. The move initially led to a decline in sales and earnings, and the stock dropped. But the company soon came to dominate its niche, and the stock's been on a tear ever since. Since 2000, Middleby investors have turned $1,000 into $7,500 -- a CAGR of almost 50%.
At Hidden Gems, Tom Gardner and Bill Mann are using these lines and more to pick up . er . out two stocks every month. To see what other smoking hot investment prospects they've dug up, try a 30-day free trial. There's no obligation to subscribe. A trial includes access to all back issues and previous picks, mid-month reports, and the Hidden Gems discussion boards, where the Hidden Gems team posts regularly and hordes of like-minded investors also share wisdom, ideas, and analysis. Click here to learn more.
This article was inspired by Rick Munarriz's "5 Great Stock Pickup Lines," which was published on April 21, 2005.
Tim Hanson does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Middleby and Marine Products are Hidden Gems recommendations. The Fool has a disclosure policy.