The two main business components that make up Marcus
The Milwaukee-based outfit owns and/or operates a baker's dozen of hotel and resort properties. It also runs a lot of movie screens -- about 500 of them, mostly in the Midwest.
Still, even though identifying what these two industries have in common may be a challenge of Jeopardy-esque proportions -- "Um, what are two leisure-based businesses, Alex?" -- investors took a shine to the company's stock in 2004. Marcus rocketed up the charts last year, delivering a gain in excess of 55%.
It's another story entirely in 2005, though. The company has shed 24% of its value on the year, thanks in part to the lackluster Hollywood summer season.
To be sure, there've been a few hits. Time Warner's
Still, shareholders were pleased with yesterday's earnings announcement for the first fiscal quarter of 2006; the company's shares rose nearly 2% on the day. True, Marcus' net income declined relative to the year-ago period, and earnings per share naturally followed suit, weighing in at $0.50 per stub this quarter compared with $0.60 during the same time last year.
That dip, however, is largely explained by a sizeable difference in income from discontinued operations. When you compare the two quarters on the basis of Marcus' current revenue generators, the first quarter of 2006 is, well, the brighter star. Thanks to the company's robust hotels unit, which booked a nice increase in revenue per room relative to the year-ago period, continuing-operations income rose by more than 10% over the 2005 figure.
So, should Foolish investors check-in to Marcus?
Given the company's sell-off this year, not to mention a theater-division slump caused by forces outside the company's control, I'd say that making a reservation for further research is in order.
Marcus is hardly a highflier. But given its penchant for profitability -- and with Wallace & Gromit and Harry Potter features likely to make cinema-house cash registers ring this fall -- the time to queue up could be right about now.
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