Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend Stock Picks

3 Stocks for Memorial Day Weekend by Zacks Investment Research

After being stuck indoors through long and harsh winter, more Americans are expected to head outside on Memorial Day weekend. According to AAA, more than 36 million people are expected to travel a minimum of 50 miles over this period.

Travelers to Rise

Data from the annual survey released last week reveals that the number of people heading out for the holiday weekend this year could be the highest since 2005. That year, 44 million people traveled over the holiday weekend. The projected increase this year is being attributed to a rise in the number of employed citizens and an increase in disposable income.

The number of people traveling will be 18% higher than the figure recorded in 2009. During that year, only 30.5 million Americans decided to travel on the Memorial Day weekend. Since 2011, numbers have been on the rise once again.

Drivers Lead the Pack

The report also predicts that most travelers will literally hit the road, with 31.8 million expected to drive. This is 1.3% higher than last year’s figure of 31.4 million. A major incentive for this increase is the reduction in gas prices. An increase in supply has significantly reduced prices from last year’s average of $3.63.

However, the number of air travelers will also increase, by 2.4% to 2.6 million. Another 1.7 million will take a bus or train or go on a cruise. This is an increase of 6.5% compared to last year.

Will It Cost More?

Traveling this weekend could be costlier than last year, says AAA. At around $169 per night, you would have to pay $3 more for a hotel room compared to last year. Similarly, the average cost of a round-trip plane ticket will increase from $215 to $227 this year.

At $44 a day, car rentals will experience an increase of 1% compared to last year. However, personal income has increased by 3.4% from last year and so the rise in prices should not be a deterrent to travelers.

Below we present three stocks poised to benefit from the increase in travel this weekend, each of which also has a good Zacks Rank.

Avis Budget Group, Inc.

Avis Budget Group, Inc. (CAR) provides vehicle rental services through a network of approximately 10,000 car and truck rental locations in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, the Caribbean, and parts of Asia. The company was founded in 1946 under the name Cendant Corp., which it later changed to Avis Budget Group in 2006 after a spinoff.

Avis Budget Group holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and expects earnings growth of 26.8%. The forward price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) for the current financial year (F1) is 19.38.

Delta Air Lines Inc.

Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) is the second largest U.S. airline and provides scheduled air transportation for passengers and cargo throughout the U.S., and around the world. The company’s route network is centered on the hub system that it operates at airports in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Salt Lake City, Paris- Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam and Tokyo-Narita.

Currently the company holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and expects earnings growth of 15.4%. It has a P/E (F1) of 12.76.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Our third choice is Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL). The company has five cruise brands Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Cruises and CDF Croisières de France. Additionally, it has 50% investment in a joint venture with TUI AG, which operates the brand TUI Cruises.

Apart from a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), Royal Caribbean Cruises expects earnings growth of 26.3%. It has a P/E (F1) of 15.73.

The increase in temperatures will provide a welcome boost to companies related to travel and tourism. This is why these stocks would make for good choices for you ahead of this holiday weekend.

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