Conventional analysis and opinion suggested that the reduction in average gas prices in the United States between 2014 and 2015 resulted in an increase in savings and a concurrent reduction in individual debt. Spend less on gas, save more money, or so the common sense deduction. A study just completed by JPMorgan suggests otherwise. Here are three stocks that could benefit based on some key conclusions of the study.
One of the major conclusions drawn was that, perhaps unsurprisingly, the reduction in gas prices had a meaningful impact on individual transportation choices. More people opted to drive their own vehicles than to take public transport, and further, more drivers drove more miles.
Increased mileage leads to increased general wear and tear for vehicles, which means more demand for tires. As a kicker for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (NASDAQ: GT), not only is low gas causing an increased demand for new and replacement tires, but rubber prices have collapsed enormously since 2011 and continue to fall. Increased demand and reduced costs is all good for Goodyear.
A second conclusion, and this one flies in the face of the pre-held belief that most people saved the extra cash, was that households spent 34% of their potential gas savings on non-gas goods and services, primarily on restaurants, entertainment and retail. Falling well within the entertainment and leisure sector is the cinema space.
Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC) is the largest theater circuit operator in the United States, with around 7,300 screens spread across 600 theaters in 40 states. The stock is up close to 20% on its year open, and as we head into the summer blockbuster period, Regal should pull in healthy revenues during the coming quarter.
As a side note, the JPMorgan report also concluded that while these segments stand to benefit, they are also likely to be the fastest to fall when or if gas prices increase. With this in mind, Regal is likely a much shorter term opportunity than Goodyear.
Some 60% of households, according to the study, saved the equivalent of 1% of annual income, averaged out to $477 in savings. Second to entertainment and leisure, in terms of where respondents in the JPMorgan data set said they spent this cash, was online retail. Of course, there are the obvious places like Amazon.com and eBay, but one less obvious alternative is Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP).
The company provides the infrastructure required for setting up online store fronts, and it is primarily a service used by small to medium-sized brick-and-mortar stores to gain an online retail presence. It is a subscription-based service, and as online spending increases, and more retail operations command an online presence through services like Shopify, the company should grow its bottom line.