ASUR Still Stalled

It's like deja vu, yet again, one more time, for shareholders of GrupoAeroportuario del Sureste, known by the acronym ASUR (NYSE: ASR  ) . June traffic was down 5.2% compared with the prior-year month, after a May drop of 4.7%.

Underlying the overall traffic drops for the month are a 10.3% downtick in international passengers at Cancun, and a 27% drop at Cozumel. Interestingly enough, Cancun's domestic passenger count has been seeing some decent growth, climbing nearly 8% for June.

Now, that's still going to sound like either boring or bad news to those who aren't familiar with the company, but to those of us holding, it's about what's expected. Traffic is still coming back from the problems laid on Cancun and Cozumel -- the location of ASUR's real cash-cow airports -- by a couple of hurricanes last year. Although 81% of Cancun rooms are back in operation and 94% of Cozumel lodging facilities are online, the passenger traffic hasn't flowed back yet.

I've said many times that I like the travel space, but I'm lukewarm on the usual players. The likes of AMR (NYSE: AMR  ) , Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL  ) , Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV  ) , and JetBlue (Nasdaq: JBLU  ) have to not only weather economic storms, but battle each other. The same goes for ticket agents such as Expedia (Nasdaq: EXPE  ) and Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN  ) .

I still believe ASUR shareholders will see a good rebound in the near future, which is one of the main reasons I recommended this stock for our recent international report Around the World in 80 Minutes.

But in the near term, I expect all Mexican shares, including these, to be traded on a less rational basis than company value. That's owing to the still-disputed Presidential election. Although I don't think either candidate, "leftist" Obrador or "center-right" Calderon, would have had much of an impact on ASUR's operations, the possibility of civil strife ought to be enough to keep some investors off guard. If that pushes ASUR shares into the low $30s -- where I think they're a very good value -- investors may find themselves glad for the political circus, provided it doesn't last too long.

If you like the looks of ASUR,Motley Fool Hidden Gemshas a similar stock in its stable. A free trial will let you take a look at the what and why.

Seth Jaysonhopes to check out the Cancun airport in the near future -- purely for research, of course. At the time of publication, he had shares of ASUR but no positions in any other company mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profilehere. Priceline and JetBlue areMotley Fool Stock Advisorpicks. Fool rules arehere.


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