Own a volatile retail stock like American Eagle Outfitters
Buy an airport, and you can add a new pastime to your list of obsessions: the monthly passenger traffic report.
Now, as my colleague Alyce Lomax noted recently, our fixation on comps sales at retailers can lead us to make some pretty stupid conclusions by encouraging us to miss the forest for the trees. The same may be true for Mexican airport operator Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste, known by the acronym ASUR
But after months of hurricane-induced passenger-count declines, it's finally time for a bit of a fiesta. For July, passenger count actually rose 4.9% compared to the prior year's month. But don't bust open that pinata just yet.
Unfortunately, this gain isn't so much a cause for celebration as we might hope, because last year's July totals were stunted by hurricane-related airport closures. At that time, it led to a 6.2% decline in passenger count from July of 2004. And ASUR has yet to pull itself completely out of that hole. For July of 2004, its airports handled 1.41 million passengers. July of 2006 saw the number climb back to 1.39 million, 1.6% shy of the 2004 tally.
Considering that there's still rebuilding to be done in the major hub of Cancun, and that the travel industry will need some mindshare rebuild even after the infrastructure is all patched up, I continue to believe that ASUR is one of the best bets in the leisure travel space, certainly better than carriers that serve Cancun, such as AMR
You don't always get a chance to buy a toll bridge on the cheap, which is why I recommended ASUR for our international report
Around the World in 80 Minutes, and why my colleague Bill Mann recommended ASUR's Mexican peer, Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico
Seth Jayson wishes he'd done more flying and less driving on his vacation last month. At the time of publication, he had shares of ASUR and American Eagle, but no position in any other company mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Pacific Sunwear and American Eagle are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Fool rules are here.
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