Wednesday, February 8, 2012, Orlando, Florida, USA
We made it to the Gaylord Palms - hope to see you at the Trade Show!
Looking back to our Christmas/New Years travel escapades (read: nightmares), we have been worried about the next three weeks ever since we spent a long and fruitless night on January 2nd at a motel near General Mitchell Field in Milwaukee. That ridiculous episode was mostly because of Frontier Airlines (RJET*), but the added cost to change the reservations on Southwest (LUV*) and the additional motel (MAR) charges, had us concerned about today's Southwest flight to Orlando. It was a one-way/non/stop out of Phoenix's Sky Harbor, one of LUV's originating major hubs, so we were pretty-much safe. But you never know in these crazy days of over-stuffed airplanes.
The next three weeks will include next week's February monthly expiration; which seems to have taken forever, along with a few days in Wisconsin, where we will celebrate our birthday. Then it will be on to another trade show - this one at the Times Square Marriott Marquis (MAR) in New York, and yes, we are still considering a position in Marriott, but have yet to pull the motel/hotel/casino/resort investment trigger (other than Las Vegas Sands (LVS*). Our long term trading accounts are already jammed with equities, but there could be room for another in this industry, and if the economy completly recovers, it could be one of the larger winners. We have had positions in Hilton (now mostly owned by the private equity group, Blackstone), Wyndam (WYN), not to be confused with Wynn (WYNN), and Starwood (we really like their stock symbol - HOT), but because of points, we usually stay at a Marriott - so that still might be our choice.
We remember buying MAR at about $15 at this time (after a Feb New York trade show) way back in 2003, having it called away, selling puts a few times, in an effort to buy it back, but mostly watching as the stock ran up to over $50 in 2007. We did go long it once again, in early 2009, after another New York trade show (near $15), at which perma-bear and pal, Tommy Sosnoff, was bullish the entire market, and we stepped up and thankfully loaded the boat with many equities that had been completely annihilated. Of course, after months of rolls, we had the stock called away again, only to watch it top out over $40 about the time of last year's New York trade show. Although $15 seems to have been our favorite entry point of the past, we will be back on our way to New York in a week-or-so, and might have to take another long look at MAR.
"All saints can do miracles, but few of them can keep a hotel.”-- Mark Twain
(* = FHW position)