Three Plays on March Madness

Focus: MARKETS

Chris Preston Image Chris Preston Investment Analyst, Cabot Wealth Network

As March Madness sweeps the nation. Here are three companies that traditionally benefit greatly from the big business of March Madness, and whose stocks are already trending in the right direction, explains Chris Preston, editor of Cabot Wall Street Best Daily.

Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD)

With 1,175 locations nationwide, Buffalo Wild Wings is the convenient sports bar of choice. All those March customers make for good first-quarter sales.

Buffalo Wild Wings did $508 million in revenue in the first quarter a year ago, 3% higher than any other quarter in 2016. Analysts are expecting $535 million in sales this quarter, which would be a 5.4% year-over-year increase and the biggest yet for Wild Wings.

Buffalo Wild Wings stock has been sliding of late, falling to $150 since hitting a 52-week high at $174 in December. But last April, BWLD bottomed at $129 before reporting record earnings late in the month, which pushed the stock up to $148. Fueled by another big March, perhaps next month's earnings report will ignite another big run-up for Buffalo Wild Wings stock.

CBS (CBS)

The broadcast network has been airing the NCAA Tournament since 1982, and last year it extended its current, joint TV deal with Turner Sports through 2032 by shelling out a combined $8.8 billion for the rights. It's no coincidence that two of CBS' three best quarters in the last two years were the first quarters of 2016 and 2015.

Meanwhile, CBS stock has been rolling: it's up 30% in the last six months, kiting from 52 to 67 and managing to stay above its 50-day moving average since September. The stock has been building a base since topping 67 last month, so another break higher could be imminent.

Nike (NKE

You'll see 68 different team jerseys over the next three weeks, and most of them were designed by Nike. Last year, 43 of the 68 schools in the tournament wore Nike-brand jerseys, shoes and warm-up T-shirts.

With millions of people watching those teams play for almost a solid month, that's a lot of exposure for Nike apparel. Nike did $8.24 billion in sales in its March quarter a year ago, up from $7.78 billion the previous year and more than all but one of the last five quarters.

After a down 2016, Nike stock has rebounded nicely since Christmas and is up 11% year to date. NKE has been trading above its 50-day moving average since the beginning of February, and the recent dip from 58 down to 56 could be a nice entry point into what has historically been a great growth stock.

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