Stocks to buy

7 Entertainment Stocks That Could Boom in a Downturn

While the concept of entertainment stocks to buy during an economic downturn might seem odd if not outrageously risky, there’s a method to the madness. Fundamentally, we humans can’t go full-bore under a constant load of stress. Even the most miserly individual must make room for downtime for balance sake; otherwise, burnout is never too far away.

Also, entertainment stocks to buy during challenging economic cycles carries historical precedent. Hollywood responded immediately to the Great Depression, bolstering the collective wounded psyche. And though movie studios suffered during the Great Recession, people flocked to the box office to escape their everyday troubles. With another crisis on our hands, people may seek escapism again. Below are entertainment stocks to buy.

CNK Cinemark $14.86
IMAX IMAX. $19.04
CMCSA Comcast $38.01
EPR EPR Properties $38.43
DIS Walt Disney $99.76
MCS Marcus Corp. $16.17
AMZN Amazon $102.41

Cinemark (CNK)

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Headquartered in Plano, Texas, Cinemark (NYSE:CNK) represents a chain of movie theaters. Although streaming content appears to have dealt a death blow on Cinemark and the rest of the box office, the Covid-19 pandemic ironically may have breathed new life into the sector. With people gravitating toward real experiences, Cinemark offers an enticing value proposition among entertainment stocks to buy.

To be fair, Cinemark will require patience. Frankly, its fiscal performance doesn’t look at all enticing. At the same time, we must remember that the box office represented one of the business categories that suffered catastrophic losses during the worst of the pandemic. With movie releases delayed and government agencies imposing restrictions, Cinemark barely made it out of the mess. And it still has a long way to go.

Still, with everything becoming so expensive, going out to the movies for escapism is a relatively budget-friendly proposition. Therefore, CNK ranks among the entertainment stocks to buy. Even better, Wall Street analysts peg CNK as a moderate buy. Their average price target stands at $15.44, implying over 4% upside potential.

IMAX (IMAX)

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A designer and manufacturer of special projection systems, IMAX (NYSE:IMAX) doesn’t quite get the credit it deserves. For one thing, it’s a strong performer in the charts. Since the beginning of the year, IMAX gained over 30% of its equity value. Since the trailing one-year period, shares moved up nearly 4%.

Fundamentally, IMAX and its immersive media presentation offer an experience that no streaming platform can match. Yes, tickets for IMAX-integrated films are more expensive than their non-IMAX counterparts. However, when stacked against other social entertainment options (i.e. live concerts, pro sports games), IMAX offers a strong value proposition. Therefore, it’s one of the entertainment stocks to buy.

To be sure, like Cinemark, IMAX will require patience among prospective investors. Because of the damage that the Covid-19 crisis imposed on the box office, IMAX suffered badly. Fortunately, analysts anticipate good things ahead for the enterprise, pegging shares a consensus moderate buy. Their average price target stands at $21.22, implying nearly 11% upside potential.

Comcast (CMCSA)

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Billed as the largest American multinational telecommunications conglomerate, Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) through its film studio Universal Pictures represents a powerhouse among entertainment stocks to buy. What I appreciate about Comcast and its ilk is that they largely gave up on heavily promoting diverse content at the box office. Instead, Comcast focuses on big, bold blockbusters like the Fast & Furious franchise.

Sure, these movies are dumb but they’re dumb fun. During a potential economic downturn, it’s a safe bet that people don’t want to be depressed with reminders of the difficulties of everyday life. Instead, they’ll gravitate toward escapism. What better role would a franchise like Fast and Furious serve than escapism? Moreover, Comcast features some interesting objective stats. For example, the market prices shares at a forward multiple of 10.3. As a discount to projected earnings, Comcast ranks better than 75.7% of the competition.

Lastly, covering analysts peg CMCSA as a consensus moderate buy. Their average price target stands at $44.24, implying nearly 17% upside potential.

EPR Properties (EPR)

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A real estate investment trust (REIT), EPR Properties (NYSE:EPR) invests in amusement parks, movie theaters, ski resorts, and other entertainment properties. Of course, because of the broader impact of Covid-19, along with the blistering shock of inflation in 2022, EPR suffered losses. In the past 365 days, the security gave up over 31% of its equity value.

However, that’s not where the story ends. Since the Jan. opener, EPR is attempting a comeback, gaining over 3% so far. With fears of Covid-19 rapidly fading away, people will likely return to various entertainment venues in a bid to make up for the lost time. Therefore, EPR deserves consideration as one of the entertainment stocks to buy. As with other companies in the ecosystem, EPR will require patience. Nevertheless, shares trade at 4.45 times trailing sales, which makes them undervalued compared to other REITs. The sector median is 6.76 times.

In fairness, analysts peg EPR as a consensus hold. However, their average price target clocks in at $45.50, implying over 19% upside potential.

Disney (DIS)

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One of the kings of entertainment stocks to buy, Disney (NYSE:DIS) scored a blistering run since the doldrums of 2020. Unfortunately, shares peaked in early 2021. When 2022 rolled around, the impact of soaring inflation took its toll on DIS stock. Indeed, in the trailing five-year period, DIS slipped a hair below breakeven. In other words, shareholders received no capital gains during that time.

Obviously, that’s terribly disappointing for a blue-chip giant like Disney. Still, with CEO Bob Iger back at the helm, Disney could get interesting. Specifically, Iger intends to trim as much fat as possible, turning the Magic Kingdom leaner and meaner. In doing so, Iger could potentially spark some life in the bottom line, which offers decent (but not great) stats. Moving forward, Disney will likely benefit from its key franchises such as Star Wars. If it plays its cards correctly, it could return to the spotlight. Turning to Wall Street, analysts peg DIS as a consensus strong buy. Their average price target stands at $128.41, implying over 28% upside potential.

Marcus (MCS)

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Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Marcus (NYSE:MCS) operates two principal divisions: Marcus Theatres and Marcus Hotels and Resorts. From the perspective of entertainment stocks to buy, Marcus offers an attractive proposition because of its regional theaters. Essentially, the company commands a sizable presence in smaller towns. Because of skyrocketing housing prices in major metropolitan areas, millennials seek comparatively rural neighborhoods due to cost-of-living reasons.

Forward-thinking investors likely recognize the speculative opportunity with MCS; thus, since the beginning of the year, shares gained over 11% of equity value. However, like other entertainment stocks to buy, Marcus requires a patient investor. Because of the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, it doesn’t feature the greatest financial metrics. Nevertheless, MCS trades at 1.1 times its book value. In contrast, the sector median value is perched at a loftier 1.49 times.

Finally, analysts peg MCS as a unanimous strong buy. Their average price target stands at $21, implying over 31% upside potential.

Amazon (AMZN)

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Finally, the e-commerce giant and tech juggernaut Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) may be an intriguing candidate for entertainment stocks to buy. Recently, some rumors started about Amazon buying a particular cineplex operator that I’d rather not mention due to ownership disclosure reasons and wanting to be as objective as possible.

Now, the concept might be interesting because Amazon could use a massive physical presence as a marketing platform. For instance, it may leverage a cineplex chain to dramatically boost the profile of its own Amazon Prime movies. So far, it’s just a rumor and investors want to be careful about betting too heavily on unsubstantiated developments.

Still, Amazon offers a streaming service alongside its e-commerce marketplace. So, it already has natural synergies as one of the top entertainment stocks to buy. Also, the company is attractive for its strong revenue growth even though it’s been around the block for years. Lastly, analysts peg AMZN as a consensus strong buy. Their average price target stands at $136.86, implying almost 33% upside potential.

On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.

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