Sweet Candy Stocks for the Halloween Investor

Joel Anderson  |

Much of the confectionary industry is made up of privately owned companies like Mars, Inc., Haribo, and the Farley & Sathers Candy Company.  There are, however, still a few publicly traded companies that make candy which we'll explore in celebration of the day's spooky holiday.

The Hershey Company (HSY) is easily the largest dedicated candy maker in the world.  With a market capitalization of over $12 billion, Hersheys has a variety of different brands and candies including Hershey's Kisses, Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, 5th Avenue, Almond Joy, Cadbury chocolates, Heath, Good n' Plenty, Carmello, Mounds, Jolly Rancher, Watchamcallit, Skor, and many others.  Started as a chocolate plant in 1903 by founder Milton Snavely Hershey, Pennsylvania's Hershey Company has grown into an international corporation that sells chocolate and candy across the globe.  Hershey recently released their Q3 earnings reports and once again outpaced analyst expectations with an EPS of $0.86.  Hershey also raised their sales expectations for 2011 for the second time in three months, pushing their anticipated year-over-year increase in sales to 7 percent.

Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc. (TR) is significantly smaller than Hershey, but still maintains a market capitalization of nearly $1.5 billion.  Founded in 1896 by Leo Hirshfield, who wanted to make a chocolate candy that wouldn't melt in the heat, Tootsie Roll has grown into one of the largest candy makers in the world.   It became a listed company in 1922.  Tootsie Roll's primary products are its ever popular Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Roll Pops, but it's also responsible for the manufacture and distribution of other brands like Caramel Apples Pops, Blow Pop, Junior Mints, Sugar Daddy, Dubble Bubble, Charleston Chew, and many others.

The confectioner industry also has major players in the form of major conglomerates.  Companies like Nestle SA (NSRGY) and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) are both engaged in the manufacture and sale of chocolate and candy.  Nestle, a food and beverage industry titan with a market capitalization of over $190 billion, produces a variety of candies, including but not limited to Nestle Crunch, 100 Grand, Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, and Goobers.  Archer Daniels Midland, meanwhile, grows cocoa beans and manufactures chocolate under the Ambrosia, deZaan, and Merckens brands.

Alongside these major companies are some much smaller confectioners, including the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (RMCF), a international company with a market cap of only $52.38 million.  Manufacturing and selling chocolate out of Southwestern Colorado, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factor was founded in 1981 and went public in 1985.  It makes a range of chocolate products, producing everything from candy apples to chocolate truffles.

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