These Reopening Stocks are Racing Higher on Economic Optimism

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Reopening stocks are the new FAANG stocks, as America starts to come out of hibernation from a year of Covid lockdown. Here are a few I like.

These days, there’s a new category of equities. No, not the familiar FAANG stocks of Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOG). That’s old news. The latest hot items are the so-called “reopening stocks,” hailing from industries in the travel and leisure space. These companies were especially hard hit as a result of Covid restrictions.

But with the pace of vaccinations accelerating in the U.S., and Covid cases either declining or plateauing, expectations are rising for a big economic resurgence.

Meanwhile, as restrictions gradually lift and business activity picks up, there’s real data about increasing corporate sales and earnings.

Reopening Stocks for Your Watch List

You can easily see the renewed optimism with a glance at the Invesco Dynamic Leisure and Entertainment ETF (PEJ). This ETF, which tracks an index of 30 U.S. stocks from the leisure and entertainment industries, is up more than 18% year to date despite a recent pullback.

THE PEJ ETF is benefitting from holding a number of reopening stocks.

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The fund has been helped by its top two holdings, ViacomCBS (VIAC) and Discovery (DISCA), both of which were able to capitalize on the stay-at-home trend with streaming services and other TV offerings.

Shares of restaurant supplier Sysco (SYY), which comprises 4.5% of fund assets, struggled to gain much upside traction throughout 2020, due to restaurant closures. That’s turned around recently; Sysco is up 9% year to date.

Travel Stocks on the Move Again

Other top holdings, such as travel services provider Booking Holdings (BKNG), struggled amid travel restrictions. Its chart, which shows two failed rally attempts in 2020, resembles Sysco’s. Booking has notched a year-to-date return of 8.7%.

Another travel booking firm, TripAdvisor (TRIP), has been on a tear in recent weeks.

The company’s business went nowhere in 2020, and it reported a yearly loss of $1.27 per share. Wall Street analysts expect that to turn around this year, with earnings of $0.07 per share.

Although many stocks began the long, slow process of rebounding last spring, TripAdvisor stock only began rallying in November. The stock is working on its fifth month in a row of upside trade, with some big monthly advances.

In February, for example, TripAdvisor was up a whopping 60.2%, to 49 a share. It has since tacked on another 14%, trading at 56 as of this writing.

Trading volume has been above average as the stock races higher. That’s a good sign of conviction among institutional investors.

Optimism Abounds for Materials and Industrial Stocks

While stocks of consumer-facing companies poised for an economic rebound are showing strength, the not-so-glamorous sectors of industrials and materials are also rotating into leadership.

With optimism on the rise over an improving economy, institutional investors are taking a fresh look at prospects for industrial production. The materials sector, of course, is relevant to that viewpoint because its components produce the inputs used in production.

Meanwhile, the new $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package will give Americans more money to put back into the economy.

In addition, materials and industrials may have more room to run, as the Biden administration hopes Congress will pass an even larger spending bill later this year. As of now, the intention is to wrap trillions of dollars in infrastructure spending into that bill.

That may benefit stocks of companies that would have a role in new infrastructure projects.

For example, Caterpillar (CAT) just crawled through 2020. The company remained profitable, but earnings growth decelerated. Analysts are eyeing earnings per share of $8.20 this year, which would mark a 38% year-over-year increase. For 2022, Wall Street pegged earnings expectations at $10.67 per share, a 30% increase. Both those forecasts were raised recently.

Not coincidentally, Caterpillar shares are trading at new highs. The stock is up to a new multi-year high of 236.

Meanwhile, fellow machinery maker Terex (TEX) is trading at its best levels since 2018. The company reported losses in the first and second quarters of 2020, a reflection of the challenging business environment. However, Terex plowed through the bad quarters, ending the year with earnings of $0.13 per share.

Analysts expect that to grow an almost astonishing 1,600% this year, to $2.26 per share. TEX stock is up to 46.

These are just a few of the top reopening stocks to keep on your watch list as America’s economy gets back in gear following a nightmare year. All of them are off to strong starts in 2021, and could soar much higher by year’s end.

Timothy Lutts

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*This post has been updated from an original version.

Comments

  • Investor F.

    Thank you for the update…As a lay person who has been in the market for more than 25 years, I do appreciate the news about companies that are growing. It gives those of us who rely on leaders like Cabot Wealth Network an opportunity that is not available through most brokerage houses. J L Strom

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