Thefinancial story of the moment is undoubtedly the fall in commodity prices: the tumblingvalue of oil and gas has wide-ranging implications around the world. If you commute to work by car, you will already be enjoying the benefits of cheaper petrol.
Falling energy and raw materialsprices will mean that manufacturing costs will fall, and this will lead to cheaper prices, boosting both emerging and developed markets, with consumers spending more. Stock markets will trend upwards.
A new era offalling oil prices
Manufacturers such as Rolls Royce, consumer goods companies such as Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser, and retailers including the supermarkets are likely to benefit.
But the firms which are likely togain the most from low oil prices are the airlines.
During the era of high oil prices, the airlines had a terrible time of it. Fuel is the largest cost of running an airline. In an industry thatwas alreadyvery competitive, high gasoline prices meant the difference between businesses thatmade a profit and those which hardly seemed viable.
During the ensuing shakeout, some airlines went bust,while the ones that survivedreduced costs. The heyday of the airline industry seemed long past. But I suspect we will soon see a revival in the fortunes of the airlines.
These companies have emerged as winners from the airline shakeout
One of the survivors was British Airways, which, despite these straitened times, reinvented itselfasone of the sectors premium, yet affordable, brands, turninglosses into growing profits.The firmbought Iberia to form International Consolidated Airlines (LSE: IAG). I think this company will be one of the winners from the falling oil price.
Yet theshares arestill reasonably priced: the 2014 P/E ratio is 16.4, falling to 10.1 in 2015. The dividend yield is 1.4%, rising to 2.2%. Whats more, the oil price is falling so quickly that IAGis likely tobeat these consensus forecasts.
Another business thatwill gain from low oil prices is no-frills airline easyJet (LSE: EZJ). The thing about a company like this is that because its costs are low, falling oil prices will mean that its margins, and thus its profitability, can increase rapidly. Just as the popularity of no-frills supermarkets is growing, more and more people are flying with low-cost airlines.
easyJets shares are not expensively priced: the 2014 P/E ratio is 14.9, falling to 12.9 in 2015, with a dividend yield of 3.0% rising to 3.2%. Again, the companys profits could well be higher thanthese forecasts.
If, as I believe is the case,we have entered a new era of low oil prices, this means both IAG and easyJet are strong buys.
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