Americans Are On the Move – So Are These 3 Stocks

“Revenge travel” sounds so sinister, so let’s call it “holiday cheer” travel instead.

Americans are on the move for the holidays, and so are related stocks – well, some related stocks.

AAA expects more than 115 million Americans to travel this season. And interestingly, air travel is expected to break above 2019 levels – which was before the pandemic shut everything down.

That’s why “revenge travel” became a popular term in 2021. It meant getting back at the pandemic by taking those trips that got canceled or delayed – from exotic vacations to visiting family and friends.

Travel always increases over the holidays, but this is more than a seasonal bump. The number of travelers going through airport security screenings is up more than 12% from last year… and higher than pre-Covid levels in 2019.

In fact, the Sunday after Thanksgiving set a record for most screenings – 2.9 million.

Must be a good time to be in airline stocks, right?

Not according to my quant rankings.

Yes, airline stocks have bounced with the overall market, as you can see with U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS). But as you can also see, its 2023 returns are only about half of the S&P 500’s.

More importantly, that ETF’s Quantum Score is relatively poor at 45.6. That’s the overall ranking in my system, and I like to buy when the score is between 70 and 85. This is a long way from that. The specific fundamental and technical ratings are equally poor.

The three biggest holdings in the fund – Delta Airlines (DAL), American Airlines (AAL), and Southwest Airlines (LUV) – fare only slightly better with a still ho-hum average Quantum Score of 56.3.

In contrast, hotels are surprisingly strong right now. Here are three – including a do-it-yourself hotel – that rank high in my system.

Marriott International (MAR)

Mariott’s Quantum Score is a powerful 82.8, so right in the sweet spot buy zone.

Sales and earnings have rebounded after Covid shutdowns, which boost its fundamentals rating. Analysts expect 2023 will show 28% earnings growth on nearly 15% sales growth. The profit margin is strong at 11.4%, which speaks to a well-run company.

With a recent bounce and nearly 50% run in 2023, the technicals are hot at 88.2. In fact, that’s knocking on the door of overheated, but shares have powered their way to new all-time highs earlier this week.


In addition to the strong price action (blue shaded area), you can also see a lot of green bars this year. Those are generated by my system and indicated unusual buying behavior, which almost certainly means institutions and hedge funds – or Big Money. Five of those signals have come here in December.

Tracking Big Money is a key part of my system. Institutions and hedge funds account for most of the trading volume each day, so it’s critical to determining a stock’s potential.

Hilton Worldwide (HLT)

Hilton’s Quantum Score is identical to Marriott’s at 82.8. But remember what I said about getting overheated? HLT is getting pretty hot.

The fundamentals are solid, with their own ranking of 70.9 (lower than MAR’s fundamentals at 75.0). Sales and earnings growth are similar to Marriot, with the bottom line expected to increase nearly 25% this year on a 16.5% sales boost.

The technicals are getting up into the scorching zone at 91.2. I’ve seen higher, and I’ve seen stocks stay hot for a long time, but that’s where I start to anticipate a pullback – even if it’s a relatively benign one.

Something else interesting: The technicals are reading hot, but HLT hasn’t generated as many Big Money buy signals as MAR this month or this year.


If you want to own HLT, you might be able to grab it on a pullback.

Airbnb (ABNB)

This is the DIY hotelier. And I must confess, I’ve been ready to write off ABNB before, but it keeps chugging along.

Its Quantum Score is strong at 81, which is a tad below MAR and HLT. That’s because its technical rating of 85.3 is the lowest of the three – though still outstanding. In fact, ABNB is the best performer so far this year with a 65% surge, including a nearly 25% run just since late October.

And yes, we’ve seen Big Money buy signals throughout the year, including three here in December.


The fundamentals are on par with Marriot’s with a solid 75 rating, but I do have concerns about ABNB’s earnings volatility in its nearly three years as a public company. For example, analysts expect 189% growth this year, followed by a 44% decline next year. That also makes it harder to value the stock.

I’m personally hesitant on ABNB, but there’s no denying its data.

If you’re on the move over the holidays, I hope you have safe travels and enjoyable stays wherever they may be. Maybe you can offset some of your expenses by making money in the highest-rated stocks in the market.

There should be plenty of opportunities to do that in the new year.

Happy holidays!

Talk soon,

Jason Bodner
Editor, Jason Bodner’s Power Trends