It's raining oil prices again.

Crude oil was trading below $50 a barrel earlier today, roughly one-third of its summer high. The implications are huge, especially for investors considering stock plays that stand to benefit the most from change.

I reviewed five consumer-facing stocks that should thrive in a low-oil-price environment back in October, when crude oil futures dipped below $75. You can certainly imagine how giddy I must be about the opportunities available today.

The market has been cruel over the past six weeks. In fact, just one of the five stocks I singled out in October trades higher today. The rest have been smacked down hard with the rest of the market, with Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) sustaining the nastiest wallop. Shares of the satellite radio giant have shed nearly half their value since my mid-October article, but I'm sticking to my thesis. With gasoline now widely available for less than $2 a gallon, consumers won't have a problem spending more time on the road -- or justifying the renewal of their satellite radio subscriptions.

5 stocks to fuel your portfolio
Let's list a few more companies that stand to benefit from low oil prices. Some are more obvious than others, but OPEC's recent loss should ultimately be their gain.



52-Week High (NASDAQ:PCLN)









Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL)






Priceline is an easy one. If lower jet fuel prices encourage potential travelers to do some comparison-shopping before booking flights, Priceline wins. If the staycation crowd is finally awakened to hit the great outdoors for a holiday road trip, Priceline is there to book their overnight lodging plans.

JetBlue has posted a few quarterly losses lately, but analysts don't think the red ink will persist. The upstart airline should post a profit this quarter, and it's on pace to continue its ascent into next year. Even if passenger growth slows, the dramatic savings on jet fuel should be substantial.  

CBRL is the parent of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. If any casual-dining concept lives and dies by the road trip, it's Cracker Barrel, whose calorie-intensive Southern vittles and throwback charm appeal to weary drivers. That's why most of the chain's locations are positioned conveniently off major highway exits. If America hits the road, CBRL will be there with open arms and waiting rocking chairs.

In its latest quarter, Royal Caribbean paid 46% more for its fuel than it did a year ago. That figure should face a dramatic turnaround in the near-term. Sure, the iffy economy may be forcing cruise lines like RCL and Carnival (NYSE:CCL) to discount cabins, but the operating overhead will be significantly lower this quarter. You don't want to bet against that welcome tailwind.

UPS is another no-brainer, even if the economy is getting in the way. The American Trucking Association -- in which UPS is a member -- has seen the nation's total goods shrink for four consecutive months. Online retailers have also posted bleak holiday outlooks. However, it's comforting to know that those brown trucks will shell out less to get around this holiday season.  

Drive on, investor
All five of these stocks are facing profit-plumping fundamentals if energy prices stay low or keep dropping. But that's just part of the story.

Royal Caribbean, JetBlue, and CBRL are all trading for less than 10 times analysts' estimates of next year's earnings. When you factor in how lower fuel prices position the companies well to earn more than the market is expecting, you have the perfect storm of value-priced stocks with earnings growth catalysts.

Realistically speaking, it's hard to fathom oil prices getting much lower. Every country is working on ways to get its economy humming again, and folks will eventually realize that oil consumption won't fade away. Production levels will also scale back if unearthing crude gets too unprofitable.

However, between now and then, these are just a few of the consumer-side stocks that should deliver healthy results this quarter. Enjoy the ride.

Other low-priced stocks on the move:

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.