Omicron setback is a buying opportunity for tourism stocks, investor says


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The dip in travel stocks following the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant is a temporary “setback” that presents some attractive buying opportunities within the sector, according to investor SpringOwl Asset Management.

Travel and tourism stocks were hammered after the World Health Organization classified omicron a “variant of concern.” Several countries also moved to reimpose border restrictions.

The immediate pullback is “not dissimilar” to that seen with the discovery of the delta variant in late 2020, but is likely to be short-lived, said SpringOwl CEO Jason Ader, noting that he is bullish on global travel stocks.

It’s always in the period where people are most concerned where you make the most as an investor.
Jason Ader
CEO, SpringOwl Asset Management

“It’s always in the period where people are most concerned where you make the most as an investor,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Tuesday.

“It may not happen as quickly as the bulls had hoped, but it’s coming. And the pullback in the stock prices certainly represents an interesting opportunity right now,” he said.

Betting on the casinos

SpringOwl Asset Management is most bullish on casino stocks, especially those in Macao. The island suffered under travel restrictions, particularly those for visitors from mainland China, as well as recent regulatory crackdowns.

The Eiffel Tower attraction, a half-size replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, stands illuminated at the Parisian Macao casino resort, operated by Sands China Ltd., a unit of Las Vegas Sands Corp., in Macau, Macau, on July 18, 2018.
S3studio | Getty Images News | Getty Images

“The Macao gaming companies now — because of the pandemic but also because of some potential changes in regulation — probably present some of the best value in the entire stock market right now,” said Ader.

Ader said Las Vegas Sands, which owns and operates resorts and casinos across the U.S., Macao and Singapore is particularly attractive. The stock, which closed around $35 per share Tuesday, is down about 50% from its January 2020 levels.

“That’s at the top of my list right now of companies that have been affected right now by travel and tourism,” said Ader, highlighting the company’s “strong balance sheets.”

“I think we’ll look back in a few years and wish we’d bought more” when it was below $40, he added.

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