×

This sector keeps rising

Want to know what's working this year? Airline stocks.

A once un-investable sector, shares of Delta, JetBlue, United, American and Southwest are all widely outperforming the broader market on a year-to-date basis.

So, will the smooth ride continue for these stocks?

"The [airline] industry has been in a secular reversal, said Oppenheimer's head of technical analysis, Ari Wald. "This is a very long-term reversal higher, following a decade of losses from [the year] 2000 to a couple of years ago."

Between union issues, higher oil and a volatile economy, airline stocks have been a turbulent investment for the past couple of decades. Bankruptcies were a yearly occurrence. But a series of industry changes has altered that picture. Through a series of concessions, labor has become cheaper, and commodity prices have stayed low this year.

(Read MoreSouthwest posts gains in traffic, key revenue mark)

Those positive factors are reflected in the sector's charts, according to Wald, and there is one name in particular that he thinks could really take off.

"United Continental stands out more recently with some technical developments," he said. "The stock has recently broken out above a very key resistance level. This breakout indicates new demand for shares and typically indicates a pickup in momentum."

According to Wald, the resistance [at $49 per share] will now become support for a run higher. "I think [$49 per share] is tactically a good level to enter the trade for potential upside to $60 [per share]."

Gina Sanchez of Chantico Global, agreed with Wald that the airline industry is headed for a longer-term uptrend, but did warn about the volatility of the airline trade. "This is a very cyclical industry," she said. "You have to be careful about when you get in when one is going gangbusters."

Sanchez noted that the industry has benefited and will continue to benefit from three key factors: fuel efficient jets, low oil prices and low fuel prices.

-----
Follow us on Twitter: @CNBCNumbers
Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/CNBCNumbers