At The Motley Fool, we're buy-and-hold investors, but before we can hold a stock, we have to pick the stock. So our analysts are always on the hunt for excellent investment ideas. And every week, some businesses stand out from the crowd, which is why every Motley Fool Money episode includes host Chris Hill asking his guests -- this time, senior analysts Andy Cross, Ron Gross, and Jason Moser -- which companies they have their eyes on, and why.
Their picks for this episode: low-price retailer Dollar General (NYSE: DG), billboard owner and insurer Boston Omaha (NASDAQ: BOMN), and special retailer and salon operator Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ: ULTA).
A full transcript follows the video.
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This video was recorded on March 8, 2019.
Chris Hill: Let's get to the stocks on our radar. Our man behind the glass, Steve Broido, is going to hit you with a question. Ron Gross, you're up first. What are you looking at this week?
Ron Gross: Following our conversations about Costco and Big Lots, I'm in a discount retailer mood. I'm going with Dollar General, DG. Operates more than 15,000 stores in 44 states. They're going to report earnings on March 14th. The company cut their full-year guidance when they released their third-quarter earnings. I'm curious to see what this report looks like. There was a lot of weather-related issues in that last report that theoretically shouldn't be repeating themselves. They expect to deliver their 29th consecutive year of same-store sales growth with this report. I'll be keeping an eye out.
Hill: Steve, question about Dollar General?
Steve Broido: I haven't seen a Dollar General around the D.C. area, but I've been to one somewhere in Maryland or Virginia. What exactly is Dollar General?
Gross: It's a retail store where you can get inexpensive merchandise, often at $1 or below, but not always. It's similar to a Family Dollar, which is also part of Dollar Tree.
Hill: Jason Moser, what are you looking at?
Jason Moser: When I first mention billboards and surety insurance, it may not seem to go together like peanut butter and chocolate, but, Chris, Boston Omaha, BOMN, is making a very good business out of it. This is a small-cap business that is led by two founder leaders. Building up strong business in billboards, those ones you drive by on the interstate. An attractive surety insurance business as well. I'll give you a little bit of a heads-up here. On Monday's Industry Focus, I am going to air an interview. I recently sat down with our own Buck Hartzell here. Buck knows this company very well. He's spoken with management before. We dig in a little bit more on Boston Omaha and present why it looks like a compelling investment option.
Hill: And the ticker?
Moser: Ticker is BOMN.
Hill: Steve, question about Boston Omaha?
Broido: I'm going to ask a similar question. What is this company? I don't understand. They make billboards? What's going on?
Moser: [laughs] They own and monetize billboards that are on the roads everywhere. They also run a nice little surety business on the side.
Hill: Andy Cross, what are you looking at?
Andy Cross: Ulta Beauty. Operates 1,200 beauty stores around the country. They report fourth-quarter earnings next week. They have 30.6 million loyalty members. That's up 15% over the past year. Those people generate more than 95% of total sales of the company. I really want to see that number continuing to grow. That means more comp-store sales growth of 8% to 9%. Anything above that is a bonus.
Broido: I do know Ulta, so my question is, is it the salon business that they're most well-known for? Or selling cosmetics?
Cross: Selling cosmetics.
Hill: Three very different businesses, Steve. You have one you want to add your watch list?
Broido: Well, there's only one I understand, so I'm going with Ulta Beauty. Sorry guys, not my best work today!
Andy Cross has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Chris Hill has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Jason Moser has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Ron Gross owns shares of COST. Steve Broido owns shares of COST. The Motley Fool recommends Boston Omaha, COST, and Ulta Beauty. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.