Airline stocks are breaking out, and one name looks poised for new highs, analyst says

Airline stocks have been soaring, but Ari Wald of Oppenheimer says there's one name investors should absolutely look to buy now.

Spirit, Southwest, JetBlue, American and Delta have been on a tear over the last month, the stocks surging 21, 19, 15, 12 and 11 percent, respectively, in that time. According to the technician, Southwest's charts look the best in terms of signaling a breakout to new highs.

"It's probably the only airline that was able to rally through its 2015 high, [and during] the summertime pullback it held that support as well," Wald said Monday on the "Trading Nation" segment of CNBC's "Power Lunch." "So just as far as characteristics of an uptrend, Southwest has them as opposed to some of the others."

Wald's chart work suggests that the stock could be on the verge of breaking through resistance, which could serve as a launching pad for Southwest. "I think you're playing for a breakout to new highs," said the technician.

Crossing Wall Street blog editor Eddy Elfenbein says the airlines as a group have room to run even higher based on what looks to be a strong holiday season.

"They came off of a very strong Thanksgiving holiday, and it looks like we're going to ramp up on a strong Christmas season [that] I think that will carry into next year," he said on "Power Lunch." He also said he thinks the "fare wars" that had come to dominate the airlines will finally wane.

In the past month, the NYSE airlines index has rallied over 10 percent. Southwest has surged 19 percent in that time, outperforming the group.


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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