Retail gasoline prices have dropped 18 percent during the past year, and many observers say that's good news for the U.S. economy, offering savings for American consumers.
It's also good news for some U.S. stocks, says Mario Gabelli, CEO of Gamco Investors. He told CNBC that two sectors he's particularly bullish about are auto parts and gasoline/convenience stores.
The gasoline savings will lead consumers to spend more at those businesses, Gabelli said.
"The users of energy, the owners of the cars are feeling better, so that they buy parts at
AutoZone, O'Reilly's and Genuine Parts," he said. "Those businesses are doing quite well. They benefit because there are 250 million cars on the road. There's deferred maintenance."
On the gasoline/convenience store front, Gabelli favors Murphy USA and Casey's General Stores.
"Every week you're going to feel better, but you don't [spend more] right away. Seventy percent of gasoline purchases are with debit or credit cards. It's going to take about a month when you're bill is lower and you have more money left over."
Restaurant stocks also should benefit, say Raymond James analysts Bryan Elliott and Brian Vaccaro.
"Historically, a sustained decline in gasoline prices has resulted in an almost immediate improvement in restaurant industry demand, especially at concepts that over-index to lower and middle income consumers," they write in Barron's.
"We believe the current gas price declines, if sustainable, would result in a period of accelerated industry demand growth in 2015 and 2016."
Among their favorites are Bloomin’ Brands, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and DineEquity.
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