AAA, North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, recently released a report saying that about 50.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during Thanksgiving this year. This represents a 3.3% increase over 2016 with the weekend expected to witness the highest Thanksgiving travel volume over the last 12 years.
A Closer Look at the Numbers
The travel and leisure industry is set to benefit thanks to several factors like a strong economy, higher incomes, higher consumer confidence and a strong labor market. According to the numbers provided by AAA, 89.3% of all travelers or 45.5 million people are planning road trips even though Thanksgiving gas prices are expected to be the highest since 2014. Meanwhile, 3.95 million travelers will take to the skies with the average airfare being the cheapest since 2013. Daily car rental rates are slated to hit a five-year holiday high driven by higher demand and cost of newer vehicles. Hotels will also benefit from increased bookings.
Stocks in Focus
Given this backdrop, here is a look at five travel and leisure stocks that look well-positioned to benefit during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period starting November 22 and ending on November 26.
SkyWest, Inc. (SKYW - Free Report) : SkyWest, the holding company for two scheduled passenger airline operations and an aircraft leasing company, provides commercial air service through more than 2,500 daily flights carrying more than 50 million passengers annually to destinations in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. While SkyWest Airlines has partnerships with large network carriers like United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines has partnerships with United, Delta and American.
SkyWest, a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock, has a pretty good earnings track record with the company surpassing expectations in each of the last four quarters with an average surprise of 10.8%. Estimated earnings growth for the current year is 21.7%. The stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings being revised 1.5% upward over the last 30 days.
SkyWest’s shares are up 38.3% year to date, significantly outperforming the 13.5% rally of the industry it belongs to. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Hertz (HTZ - Free Report) : Hertz is one of the most recognized vehicle rental companies in the world. With AAA forecasting that about 1.4 million more travelers will be on the road this Thanksgiving compared to 2016, Hertz looks well-positioned to benefit from the expected increase in rental pick-ups thanks to thousands of locations across the country and a dedicated customer service team. Hertz is also providing customers with the option to save money and time through pre-payments and its loyalty rewards programs. According to the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock, Orlando, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami and Fort Lauderdale are expected to be the busiest airport pick-up locations for people looking to rent a car this Thanksgiving.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL - Free Report) : Global cruise vacation company, Royal Caribbean, owns and operates three global brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. As of Sep 30, 2017, a total of 49 ships were in operation with an additional twelve on order.
Royal Caribbean, a Zacks Rank #3 stock, has a pretty good earnings track record with the company surpassing expectations in each of the last four quarters with an average surprise of 3.2%. Estimated earnings growth for the current year is 21.6%. The company is already experiencing strong early booking trends for 2018, which bodes well for solid yield and earnings growth.
Royal Caribbean’s shares are up 52.9% year to date, significantly outperforming the 25.2% rally of the industry it belongs to.
Marriott International, Inc. (MAR - Free Report) : Marriott, one of the most recognized hotel companies in the world, has more than 6,400 properties in 126 countries and territories. The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts. Marriott has a pretty strong earnings track record with the company surpassing expectations in each of the last four quarters with an average surprise of 9.1%. 2017 earnings estimates are up 2.4% over the last 30 days. Marriott’s shares are up 52.9% year to date, significantly outperforming the 20.1% rally of the industry it belongs to. Estimated earnings growth for the current year is 10.9%.
Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT - Free Report) : Hilton, a leading global hospitality company, boasts of a portfolio of 14 world-class brands comprising more than 5,100 properties in 103 countries and territories. The company's portfolio includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations.
A Zacks Rank #2 stock, Hilton’s earnings track record is strong with the company surpassing expectations in each of the last four quarters with an average surprise of 19.2%. The stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings being revised 3.8% upward over the last 30 days.
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