If the sky is falling, catch a rainbow.
Different companies thrive under different circumstances. Even in a sector as discretionary income-dependent as leisure, there are companies that will profit despite a deluge of falling disposable income, higher gas prices, and waning consumer enthusiasm.
Don't believe me? Read on as I go over a few stocks that are perfectly positioned to ride out the storm.
I'm going to start with a video game retailer. Yes, those next-generation consoles are pricey. New games will set you back as much as $60, and it's even more than that if you're snapping up a hot-selling music simulation title like Rock Band or Activision's
So why would I single out GameStop? Follow my logic. Higher gas prices translate into more time spent at home. Now that gaming has evolved, thanks to the revolutionary Wii and friend-and-family-intensive games like Rock Band, the industry will keep us entertained during the economic lull. And now that Blu-ray has been crowned as the heir apparent to the DVD, Sony's
The GameStop story is better than that, though. Margins on hardware are nice. Margins on software are nicer. However, GameStop's margins are their chunkiest in reselling used gear. If we delve into a recessionary funk -- or worse -- don't you think gamers will turn to GameStop as a convenient pawnshop? They can sell their old titles to the store, which in turn can resell them to fellow penny-pinchers at attractive markups.
Regional amusement park operators rely on locals to keep the turnstiles clicking. That's welcome news as we head into a summer of $4 gallons of gasoline. Sorry, Griswolds -- there will be fewer cross-country treks to Wally World this year.
Cedar Fair operates several popular parks, including Cedar Point in Ohio and Knott's Berry Farm in California. Rival Six Flags
Sure, tight times may put a dent in per capita spending at the park. You can't expect regulars to snap up touristy souvenirs and costly on-ride photographs, or even to consume in-park meals. However, getting those turnstiles to click in the right direction is the first step. Sponsors will pay to reach those eyeballs, and Cedar Fair will find a way to market its food and merchandise to tight-fisted locals.
How many of those economic stimulus checks will go toward upgrading televisions? How much will be left over to buy new DVDs and Blu-ray discs to play on those wide, flat screens? That's where Netflix steps in.
For less than the cost of a new disc purchase, consumers can get a month of unlimited rentals. Naturally, Blockbuster
You're already seeing that in play, with Netflix recently raising its year-end subscriber targets. You don't see too many subscriber-based companies upping the stakes these days. Take Netflix's move as a wink and a nod that it has what it takes to get through the downturn.
Riding out the storm
Would it be easier to just short the stocks that are the most susceptible to empty pockets? Unfortunately, you're months too late for that. Most of those stocks have already been battered.
Follow my lead. Seek out the companies that have a recessionary edge. These three stocks are already popular around Fooldom. GameStop and Netflix have been Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations for years. Cedar Fair is an Income Investor selection. I personally own two of the three.
Feel free to brave a new path and carve out your own recessionary favorites. You will find them in every sector. You just need to dig deeper than the superficial layer of skepticism that is keeping buyers away.
Sweet rewards await those willing to get their fingernails dirty. Enjoy the dig.
GameStop, Activision, and Netflix are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Cedar Fair is an Income Investor pick. Be a bull in bear's clothing and check out either service for the next 30 days with a free backstage pass.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz always seems to be having fun with leisure stocks. He does own shares in Netflix, Cedar Fair, and Six Flags. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.