Thanks to strong economic fundamentals, strong consumer spending, higher wages and increasing levels of household wealth, a higher number of Americans are gearing up for Thanksgiving travel by road or air. The frenzy for trips during the Thanksgiving weekend is far more than many other years.
According to travel service provider American Automobile Association (AAA), Thanksgiving holiday travel will be the second highest, trailing the record set in 2005. More than 55 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving weekend (Nov 27-Dec 1), up 2.9% from last year. Of them, 49.3 million (up 2.8% from the last year) will go on road trips, 4.45 million (up 4.6%) will fly, and the remaining 1.49 million (up 1.4%) will travel by train, bus or cruise (read: Transport ETFs Rally on Solid Start to Earnings Season). Even though travelers are expected to hit the road the most since 2005, motorists are expected to pay the highest gas price since 2014. According to GasBuddy, the average price for regular unleaded gasoline is expected to be $2.56 per gallon, a penny higher than last year. Additionally, travelers are expected to pay a little extra when paying for car rentals, and mid-range hotels. This is because the average daily car rental reached a record since 1999 for the Thanksgiving holiday at $75 per day. Meanwhile, AAA Two Diamond hotels are 1% expensive than last year at an average rate of $125 per night, while AAA Three Diamond hotels has fallen 5% to an average nightly cost of $158. Another report from the U.S. airlines group Airlines for America (A4A) shows that a record 31.6 million (2.63 million per day) passengers will fly over the 12-day Thanksgiving holiday travel period (Nov 22-Dec 3), up 3.7% from last year. The busiest day will be Dec 1 with 3.1 million people traveling that day. The other busiest days for air travel will be Nov 27 and Nov 22 when 2.98 million and 2.96 million, respectively, passengers are expected to fly. Huge travel demand should boost revenues and profitability for airlines and railroads, thereby leading to higher share prices. Investors shouldn’t miss this opportunity and could tap this trend through ETFs and stocks that stand to profit big time from the upbeat Thanksgiving travel trend. iShares Transportation Average ETF ( IYT Quick Quote IYT - Free Report) The fund tracks the Dow Jones Transportation Average Index, giving investors exposure to a small basket of 20 securities. From a sector perspective, railroads takes the top spot with 33.3% of the portfolio while air freight & logistics, airlines and trucking round off to the next three spots with double-digit exposure each. The fund has accumulated nearly $516.6 million in AUM while sees solid trading volume of around 217,000 shares a day. It charges 42 bps in annual fees and has a Zacks ETF Rank #4 (Sell) with a High risk outlook (read: Follow Morgan Stanley to Trade 2020 Election With ETFs). SPDR S&P Transportation ETF ( XTN Quick Quote XTN - Free Report) This fund tracks the S&P Transportation Select Industry Index, holding 44 stocks in its basket. About 35.4% of the portfolio is dominated by trucking, while airlines takes 25.7% share. Airfreight & logistics, and railroads also make up for a double-digit allocation each. With AUM of $132.6 million, the fund charges 35 bps in fees per year from investors and trades in a lower volume of around 13,000 shares a day. XTN has a Zacks ETF Rank #4 with a High risk outlook. First Trust Nasdaq Transportation ETF ( FTXR Quick Quote FTXR - Free Report) This fund offers exposure to the 30 most-liquid U.S. transportation securities based on volatility, value and growth by tracking the Nasdaq US Smart Transportation Index. FTXR has accumulated $3.7 million in its asset base and charges 60 bps in annual fees. Average trading volume is meager at 4,000 shares. The ETF has a Zacks ETF Rank #4. U.S. Global Jets ETF ( JETS Quick Quote JETS - Free Report) This fund provides exposure to the global airline industry, including airline operators and manufacturers from all over the world, by tracking the U.S. Global Jets Index. In total, the product holds 34 securities and charges investors 60 bps in annual fees. The fund has gathered $52.8 million in its asset base while sees lower trading volume of nearly 24,000 shares a day. It and has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) with a High risk outlook (read: Are Transportation ETFs Up for a Sweet November?). United Airlines Holdings Inc ( UAL Quick Quote UAL - Free Report) This airline provides air transportation services in North America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. It is expected to see earnings and revenue growth of 8.3% and 3.3%, respectively, for the holiday quarter. The stock has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Navios Maritime Partners LP ( NMM Quick Quote NMM - Free Report) This international owner of dry cargo vessels is engaged in the seaborne transportation services of drybulk commodities including iron ore, coal, grains, fertilizers and chartering of its vessels under medium to long-term charters. Its earnings are expected to grow 246.7% for the holiday quarter and revenues will likely see modest growth of 5.9%. The stock has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and VGM Score of A. You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here Allegiant Travel Company ( ALGT Quick Quote ALGT - Free Report) This carrier operates a low-cost passenger airline and is focuses on linking leisure travelers in small and medium sized cities to world-class leisure destinations. Its earnings and revenues are expected to grow 50.4% and 10.3%, respectively, for the holiday quarter. The stock has a Zacks Rank #2 and VGM Score of B (see: all the Industrials ETFs here). Air Transport Services Group Inc ( ATSG Quick Quote ATSG - Free Report) This company is a leading provider of air cargo transportation and related services to domestic and foreign air carriers and other companies that outsource their air cargo lift requirements. Its earnings are expected to grow at a rate of 8.3% for the holiday quarter while revenues will increase 33.2%. The stock has a Zacks Rank #2 and VGM Score of A. Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week. Get it free >>