4 Stocks for Our Dads on Father's Day

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Carnival Cruise Line
We presented our moms with a parade of stock picks for Mother's Day. Now it's time to pick out a little something to perk up dear old Dad's portfolio.

We asked four of our writers to shop for stocks that their own fathers could relate to. Some of these companies have, like Dad, weathered ups and downs over the years, but are coming out ahead. Others may appeal to his nostalgic sensibilities. And then there are a few that are performing technological feats that were unheard of even a decade ago.

Here are four great companies for dads and the people who love them.

Taking to the High Seas

I was fortunate that my dad loved to travel, and some of our best trips were on cruise ships.

From sailing the Caribbean on Costa's Carla C to a couple of transatlantic sailings of Cunard's QE2, we were cruising before it was cool. My dad even helped pay for my honeymoon, which concluded with a Princess cruise.

Carnival (CCL) -- the company behind the world's largest fleet of cruise ships -- happens to be the company that also owns Costa, Cunard, and Princess.

These aren't the best of times for Carnival. Mishaps on Costa and Carnival ships since early last year have roughed up its reputation, but that's also an opportunity for investors, just as it's been for passengers taking advantage of the fire-sale rates. Too soon, Triumph?

Unlike its smaller publicly traded rivals NCL (NCLH) and Royal Caribbean (RCL), which recently hit fresh highs, Carnival's stock is trading closer to its 52-week low.

Carnival will get through this. The advantages of cruising are too great to ignore, and Carnival is the undisputed champ with more than $15 billion in revenue a year. The juicy 3.1 percent yield will also come in handy. -- Rick Munarriz

From -- and for -- the Heart

My dad would have appreciated Medtronic's (MDT) efforts to solve heart-related health problems. He suffered from heart disease before he passed away 20 years ago, with a slow decline that eventually required heart-transplant surgery.

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With its pacemakers, defibrillators, and other medical devices focusing on the cardiovascular system, Medtronic aims to find and treat heart-rhythm problems that could otherwise lead to premature heart failure. With products to treat other problems like coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease, Medtronic seeks to cover the entire circulatory system in helping patients.

Investors have been happy with Medtronic's results lately: Its stock has recently risen to levels not seen since before the financial crisis five years ago. Clearly, as populations age both in the U.S. and around the world, the opportunity to treat heart-related ailments is getting bigger. Despite headwinds from the Obamacare-imposed 2.3 percent sales tax on medical devices, Medtronic remains a profitable company with a long history of raising dividend payments to shareholders on an annual basis. Dad would have appreciated the value of making Medtronic, with its ability to profit through providing life-saving products, part of his investment portfolio. -- Dan Caplinger

A Trip Down Memory Lane

For a time almost 20 years ago, my dad owned shares of the predecessor to United Continental (UAL) while he was still an employee at the old United Airlines. I'd put him back in the stock today.

United shares are up more than 40 percent over the past year as oil prices have stabilized at around $100 a barrel. That United is generating meaningful cash flows with fuel running as expensive as it has speaks volumes for the carrier's durability.

But why buy now? In a word: Boeing (BA). United is the first among American carriers to utilize the company's troubled but hyper-efficient 787 for long-haul routes such as Denver-Tokyo, which took off for the first time this week. Flying the Dreamliner on pricey routes like this could boost the carrier's already industry-leading gross margin.

Which is to say United is once again acting like the premium carrier it was when Dad started working there in the 1960s. Welcome back, UAL. And Happy Father's Day, Dad. -- Tim Beyers

iRobot, You Dad

If your dad is a gadget lover, this stock is a perfect fit. iRobot (IRBT) is the company behind the Roomba floor cleaner and is also responsible for some huge robotic innovations that can delight even the snootiest of tech dads.

Besides its success in the consumer household industry, iRobot has inked a deal with the U.S. military to create robots that do everything from protecting public safety officials to finding safe ways to get rid of a bomb. This kind of stuff makes James Bond look like Dora the Explorer.

Stock-wise, iRobot has seen some impressive recent financials. Revenue for its home robots division (including Roomba) jumped 21.5 percent last year, or $78.2 million, and its margins have held steady even as the company puts more of its revenue into advertising. iRobot also recently inked a strategic acquisition of Evolution, the maker of rival floor-cleaning robots Mint, and is even trying its hand at health care. Its new RP-VITA robot is the first to be cleared by the FDA for use in hospitals.

Ladies and gentlemen (and dads), welcome to the future. -- Caroline Bennett

Motley Fool contributors Caroline Bennett, Dan Caplinger, Rick Munarriz, and Tim Beyers have no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends iRobot. The Motley Fool owns shares of Medtronic.

Father's Day by the Numbers
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4 Stocks for Our Dads on Father's Day
The number of American fathers in 2008, as estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau. (That's the last year data is available for.)
The number of single dads who are heads of household, representing 16 percent of single-parent families.
The number of hours per week the average father spends with his children. This has nearly tripled since 1965, but 46 percent of fathers still say that they don't spend enough time with the kids.
How much more likely dads are than moms to take their children to the movies.
Percentage of dads who would rather spend "quality time" with their family than receive a present on Father's Day.
Number of dads who qualified as "stay-at-home" parents in 2012.
Cat Stevens, "Father and Son" (A cover of it hit #2 on the UK Singles Chart in 1995)
George Strait, "A Love Without End, Amen" (#1 Country Singles Chart 1990)
The Temptations, "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" (#1 Pop Singles 1974)
Brad Paisley, "Anything Like Me" (#1 Country Songs, 2010)
Luther Vandross, "Dance With My Father" (#4 Hot Adult Contemporary, 2004)
Johnny Cash, "A Boy Named Sue" (#2 Hot 100, 1969)
Madonna, "Papa Don't Preach" (#1 Hot 100, 1986)
John Mayer, "Daughters" (#19 Hot 100, 2004)
Elvis Presley, "Don't Cry, Daddy" (#6 U.S. Charts, 1969)
Eric Clapton, "My Father's Eyes" (#16 Top 40, 1998)
Percentage of dads who hope that they won't get a necktie on Father's Day.
Percentage of men and women who think that Mother's Day gets more attention than Father's Day. 15 percent of respondents -- and 23 percent of men! -- are okay with that.
Ten of the best movie dads ever, according to a completely scientific poll of the opinions of Bruce Watson, the author of this article.

Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird
Vito Corleone, "The Godfather"
Guido, "Life Is Beautiful"
Daniel Hillard, "Mrs. Doubtfire"
Ted Kramer, "Kramer Vs. Kramer"
Marlin, "Finding Nemo"
Man, "The Road"
Bryan Mills, "Taken"
George Monroe, "Life as a House"
Harry Stamper, "Armageddon"
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