There are a lot of stocks still hurting in 2020, largely because their businesses have taken a hit during the pandemic. Some will bounce back. Some won't. I realize that there are two baskets of these out-of-favor stocks. On the one hand you have the interrupted -- that is, companies that have temporarily slowed down but should bounce back when the pandemic and recession are licked. Then you have the disrupted: companies for which the setback isn't temporary.
I feel that AMC Entertainment Holdings (NYSE: AMC), Carnival (NYSE: CCL), and Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG) are market leaders in industries that are being disrupted. I don't think movie theaters and shopping malls will ever return to their former glory. The cruising industry could sail back into consumer fancy, but it's not going to happen anytime soon. Let's go over all three stocks that I don't see recovering in the coming year.
After shutting down for more than five months, AMC opened roughly 100 of its multiplexes this past weekend. Its smaller peers also followed suit. You would think that there would be crazy demand for a trip back to the movie house, but that wasn't the case. Less than a million people (or 0.3% of the country) went back to see a movie over the weekend.
Things will get better. Movies that folks actually want to see will start arriving in the coming weeks. But it won't just be safety concerns or mask requirements keeping most people away from the corner multiplex. The migration to streaming premium entertainment at home has grown up over the past five months. We've proved that we can pay $20 or more for a new release seen from the comfort of home -- and the studio doesn't have to split the box office with an exhibitor.
AMC will put up better numbers than this past weekend as it opens more screens and better movies arrive. However, I don't know if we'll ever see the ticket sales of 2019 (or any other previous year for that matter) as a reboot.
The travel industry is going to take a long time to bounce back, and the cruise lines will bear the brunt of the setback. Cruise ship operators don't have much choice. U.S.-departing sailings aren't leaving until at least November, and we're already seeing select trips from some of Carnival's smaller lines getting bumped to next year.
Analysts are widening their projected losses for the industry in 2021. Three months ago, Wall Street pros thought Carnival would earn $1.48 a share in fiscal 2021. Two months ago, the forecast moved to a loss of $0.87 a share, and now it's all the way down to a loss of $2.44 a share. Delaying restart dates, reducing the number of ships in its fleet, and consumers rethinking what the cruise experience will be like with masks and social distancing are making it a hard sell in the near term.
As the world's largest cruise line, Carnival can't be written off entirely in the long run. Consumers may embrace different vacation modes next year (or possibly just stay closer to home), but sea cruises will inevitably come back. This is just a recovery process that will take years, and Carnival stock isn't likely to bounce back until the industry's prospects improve.
Simon Property Group
The shopping mall was dying before the pandemic, and COVID-19 has just accelerated the migration to e-commerce. Simon Property Group is a giant mall operator structured as a REIT, but a landlord is only as good as the ability of its tenants to pay -- and these are scary times for brick-and-mortar retailing. A lot of chains are buckling, and the survivors are getting better at online sales that will make paying stiff mall rents less necessary in the future.
There's a lot riding on Simon as a dividend stock with its current 7.8% yield, but is that sustainable? Earnings have fallen well short of analyst expectations in back-to-back quarters. Mall operators are trying to bail out their tenants by actually bidding on bankrupt chains, but does that make sense to you? It's a conflict of interest at best. In the worst-case scenario, it's jumping out of the frying pan and into the quicksand.
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