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With Thanksgiving just a week away, investors may already be shopping for the very best trade for Black Friday. Surprisingly, the winner isn't Macy's or Wal-Mart or the other stores that make headlines for opening earlier and earlier on that fateful day and getting mobbed by bargain-hunting maniacs.
Rather, it's a quiet luxury bellwether with a flagship store on Madison Avenue that's fit for the Aristocrats.
Shares of Coach were the overwhelmingly consistent winner in a study of trading activity leading up to and after Black Friday using Kensho, a quantitative tool that hedge funds use to find profitable trades.
Coach shares rose 85 percent of the time during the trading period containing the week of and the week following Black Friday, with an average return of 3 percent over that two-week period. So if past is prologue, now is the time to scoop up the shares.
"It's an inexpensive way to give that loved one a glamour brand for the holidays," said Jon Najarian, when asked why Coach was such a consistent holiday winner year after year. The trader and contributor to CNBC's "Fast Money " just bought the stock in preparation for its Black Friday run.
For this study, Kensho analyzed all the trading data around Black Fridays going back to 1980 for members of .
While Coach was far and away the best performer in the study, two other names that aren't the first that come to mind when thinking "Black Friday rush" also were also among the consistent winners: Lowe's and Home Depot.
"You've got a ton of people about to travel to your house for the holidays so you need it to look good," said Mike Murphy of hedge fund Rosecliff Capital, explaining the fundamental theme behind the home-improvement stocks' consistent performance this time of year.
Lowe's and Home Depot rose 75 percent of the time during the week of Black Friday and the week following, with an average return of more than 2 percent.
"If you're not in the Southeast, you're thinking winter," said Pete Najarian, co-founder of online broker TradeMonster.com.
And if it seems like you always get stuck next to someone who's drinking during Thanksgiving, it will come as no surprise that the other consistent winner in this study was Brown-Forman, the maker of such fine spirits as Jack Daniels and Finlandia.
Brown-Forman shares increased 80 percent of the time during the two weeks surrounding Black Friday, providing investors with an average return of almost 3 percent over that period.
Disclosure: NBC Universal is a minority investor in Kensho.