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Shares of Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN ) hit a 52-week high yesterday. Let's look at how it got here and see whether clear skies are ahead.
How it got here
If the economy is still struggling, you wouldn't know it from the screaming kids on roller coasters and the overpriced cotton candy sales at Cedar Fair's amusement parks. Consumers are spending more per visit, and attendance is even rising slightly.
The company said that through Labor Day the company's revenues are up 5% from a year ago to $881 million, driven by a 4% increase in spending per visit. Net income through the second quarter was up to $36.3 million from just $4.3 million a year ago. But the strong numbers in entertainment haven't been strictly a Cedar Fair phenomenon.
Theme-park owner Six Flags (NYSE: SIX ) is experiencing a strong return of revenue since the depths of the recession. Cruise-line operator Carnival (NYSE: CCL ) is experiencing even more growth, and Disney (NYSE: DIS ) is reaching new highs. It's a good time to be in the entertainment business.
If we look at the companies on a more fundamental basis, Cedar Fair seems to hold its own. The quarterly revenue growth is impressive, but some of that is due to an extra week in the second quarter. The company does have a strong return on assets and has the lowest forward P/E of the group.
Quarterly Revenue Growth
Return on Assets
Source: Yahoo! Finance.
The question is: Can Cedar Fair's stock can continue moving higher?
Cedar Fair has been on a great run since the depths of the recession, but I think there's still room to move higher. The company is steadily growing revenue, and the stock's valuation isn't anything to be scared of. Add in the fact that management expects a $2 distribution in 2013, which would be a 6% yield at the current price, and I think the stock can continue its charge higher.
Expectations may need to be reduced versus performance over the last two years, and investors need to keep an eye on the economy's overall health. If the economy improves, so will Cedar Fair, and I don't think a double-digit return in the next year is out of order.
The CAPS community isn't as high on the stock as I am, though, giving it a two-star rating. But only 14 out of 114 All-Stars who have rated the stock think it will underperform the market.
So, will the economy continue a slow rise and help companies like Cedar Fair? The election will play a big role, and we've identified four stocks that could skyrocket after we find out our new president. Find out more about this free report by clicking here.