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An airline and an online travel booker: Traders on their favorite rebound plays

As hotel chains prepare for earnings, two traders break down travel stock plays
As hotel chains prepare for earnings, two traders break down travel stock plays

The hotel stocks were on watch Wednesday after a surprise quarterly loss from Hilton. Hyatt is scheduled to report after the bell.

But, both have had impressive rebounds, rallying by at least 150% since March lows, a surprise for companies so beaten down by the coronavirus pandemic.  

Those gains have New Street Advisors founder and CEO Delano Saporu sitting on the sidelines.

"There has been a huge comeback and I think that's one of the reasons why I'm not a buyer here," Saporu told CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Tuesday. "Hilton's already trading near pre-pandemic levels … so I think this is something that is keeping me out of these names right now."

Bill Baruch, president of Blue Line Capital, prefers exposure to the reopening trade and increased demand in the travel space through one online booking travel agency.

"Expedia has already broken out above its trend line resistance, holding … consolidation above the gap from Nov. 9. I think it's very constructive," Baruch said during the same interview.

Baruch adds that Expedia's VRBO platform, a vacation rental competitor to Airbnb, could help drive growth.

"You have a good diversification within Expedia and VRBO could compete with the Airbnb pocket so I like that going forward," he said. "I'm not in Expedia, I didn't think it would take off as quick as it has so I'm reevaluating where it is. But, out above $130, it's in a breakout and the next stop could be $160."

Expedia traded lower Wednesday, at around $147 a share.

Saporu would pick Airbnb for its growth prospects over Expedia, but his favorite travel play is with an airline.

"Delta is something that we've been reevaluating and looking at. … People are getting more comfortable with flying again and that's why we like it, you're seeing the TSA numbers for checkpoints and screening ... increasing over the last couple of weeks. That's something that I think is really great for Delta," said Saporu.

Passengers passing through airport travel checkpoints have averaged 776,700 a day so far this year, according to the Transportation Security Administration. That's still well off the 2 million-a-day average at the beginning of 2020. However, it is higher than depressed numbers over last summer.