Bull and bear cases for buying into the travel rebound

Barclays is backing the travel industry’s rebound.

The firm upgraded Marriott and Hilton on Monday to overweight, citing “improving demand trends” in the U.S. that should benefit hotel stocks.

Michael Binger, president of Gradient Investments, agrees that it could be time to jump back into certain travel stocks.

“When you upgrade hotels stocks, you’re really betting that the economy will return to normal, and that folks will start to travel again, and I would agree on that premise that things are beginning to normalize. I see at our local level in restaurants, retail, even traffic on the freeways,” Binger said Monday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.”

While Gradient Investments does not own Hilton or Marriott shares, Binger’s firm is betting on a different travel stock.

“We have recently been buying a hotel and resort company called Wyndham Destinations. This is a vacation ownership company. They serve Middle America, they have about 220 resorts across the country and globally. Most importantly, these are more drive-to resorts. We think that area will come back first,” said Binger.

Gradient has set a $40 price target on Wyndham, implying 31% upside from Monday’s close. Shares are down 41% this year.

“The caveat being if the economy doesn’t recover, vacations are canceled, consumers hunker down, that’s the risk of owning right here,” Binger said.

Ari Wald, head of technical analysis at Oppenheimer, is still steering clear of the travel space.

An economic and travel “recovery isn’t reflected in the charts just yet,” Wald said during the same segment.

He said that while stocks such as Marriott have stabilized, he does not see much upside potential ahead.

“We were on the show June 8 highlighting Marriott as a tactical sell as the stock had rallied into the falling slope of its 200-day average. “The stock has come off since then, it’s trying to find support at its 50-day average at $87. But given that bearish trend, put simply, we see more attractive opportunities for funds elsewhere,” Wald said.

Marriott has fallen 40% this year, but has rallied 94% since its March low.

Disclosure: Gradient owns Wyndham shares.


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