Valentine's Day unwraps sweet stock deals

Valentine’s Day is approaching, and as people run out to buy gifts for their loved ones, companies including Hershey (NYSE:HSY) and (NASDAQ:FLWS) see their sales sweetened by a spike in demand for chocolates, flowers and other gifts.

It may not be a major holiday, but U.S. consumers still spend billions of dollars. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) consumers will spend a near record $19.6 billion on Valentine's Day.

The expected average spent per consumer this year is $143.56, with 55% of the population celebrating. Last year, an average of $136.57 was spent, according to the NRF’s annual survey.

Top gifts include candy, greeting cards and an evening out.

With the seasonal uptick in sales, some companies are poised to see a boost in sales. Looking at share performance in the Feb. 1- Feb. 15 period over the past five years, here are how some “Valentine’s stocks” have performed.

One of the biggest U.S. candy makers, Hershey has seen a pretty positive stock-price reaction over the past five years, with its performance surpassing that of the S&P 500 during the Feb.1-Feb. 15 period, according to data from the WSJ Market Data Group.

With flowers another common gift, (NASDAQ:FLWS) is an option for investors, and increased purchases during the Valentine’s shopping season have resulted in the company’s stock performance surpassing the S&P 500’s in four of the past five years.

Jewelry and lingerie are other gift options for the season, but over the past five years, Tiffany (NYSE:TIF) and Victoria Secret parent company L Brands (NYSE:LB) have had a mixed share reaction during the season, only beating the S&P 500’s advance in two out of the past five years.