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Le Freak, C'est Chic: 13 Stocks Eerily Perfect for Halloween


Boneyards, body parts, spirits, and haunted houses. You can invest in them all.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Halloween is Christmas for those that love the macabre. In that spirit, we present 13 potential stock picks that seem right for the Day of the Dead. They are ranked in each category by market capitalization. Not on the list, but in the neat-to-know category, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has been quietly muscling in on the casket business via its partnership with At press time, it was offering about 50 different models at significant discounts -- close to 75% --- from the list price.

The Physical Remains

Services Corporation International (NYSE:SCI) is a major player in the so-called "death care" sector. The $3 billion market cap firm owns more funeral homes, cemeteries, and crematories than any other company in North America. Since its acquisitions of Alderwoods and Keystone North America, it boasts holdings of 1,712 funeral homes and 490 cemeteries. The company sells "cemetery property internment rights" for mausoleum spaces, lots, and crypts. It handles burial openings and closings, and also manufactures caskets, vaults, and urns.

Hillenbrand (NYSE:HI) sells 45% of the caskets in the United States, some 800,000 per year, through its wholly owned subsidiary Batesville Casket Co. In addition, the company sells cremation urns. Hillenbrand has diversified significantly beyond its core business of casket-making in recent years. Its Process Equipment Group runs K-Tron, Rotex, and TerraSource Global, which are all companies making or servicing industrial products. When its acquisition of Germany's Coperion Capital, a privately-owned industrial products company, closes at the end of this year, the business done by the Process Equipment Group will make up about two-thirds of the company's revenue. Hillenbrand has $1.31 billion in market cap.

Matthews International (NASDAQ:MATW) makes the bronze plaques that go on caskets, urns, and headstones. The $841.64 million market cap firm's specialty is laser engraving images on headstones. In addition to its specialized laser work, the company has been innovative -- and environmentally conscious -- regarding the disposal of bodies. In August, it won approval to be the first "alkaline hydrolysis unit" in the state of California. The process, dubbed Bio Cremation, uses 95% water and 5% alkali instead of direct flame and fossil fuel to "reduce human remains" and destroy "pathogenic microorganisms found in human remains." Interestingly, the idea came from Scotland, which does not allow Bio Cremation, but Florida does. Matthews International provided the equipment to the Anderson-McQueen funeral home in Florida, which was the first home to offer the service. According to Florida's Sun Sentinel, "The departed is placed in a container that looks like a cross between a washing machine and a bank vault. Cranked up to 350 degrees, the mix dissolves the bodily remains. The cycle is completed in the time it takes to watch a long movie. The bones are removed and ground before being placed in an urn."
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