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Ahead of the Bell: Cedar Fair

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Keybanc Capital Markets analyst increased his price target for Cedar Fair on Wednesday, saying the theme park operator may have a strong upcoming season.

Scott Hamann said in a client note that he recently went on a trip with Cedar Fair LP's management to visit investors. The analyst said he came away from the experience feeling more positive on the Sandusky, Ohio, company's near-term and long-term prospects.

Hamann said that Cedar Fair — which runs Cedar Point and Knott's Berry Farm among other theme parks — is so far experiencing solid early season pass sales and hotel bookings, with approximately 25 percent of the year's season passes already sold. One factor that may be helping with sales, according to Hamann, is that the company tweaked its payment plan — expanding it to six months from three months last year.

The expansion of the Fast Lane program at some of its theme parks will give Cedar Fair another avenue to get customers to spend their money, he added.

The analyst maintained Cedar Fair's "Buy" rating and boosted its price target to $46 per unit from $42 per unit.

Its shares finished at $39.47 per unit on Tuesday, just shy of their 52-week high of $39.55 set on Feb. 6.