Investors who want to bet on the return of Americans traveling abroad after a coronavirus-driven halt can do so without buying airline stocks, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Wednesday. Instead, Cramer pointed them in the direction of a financial services firm he called a "coiled spring," even as the company's shares trade near all-time highs. American Express is doing "incredibly well just with domestic, including small- and medium-sized business. Can you imagine when you get international? That's the stock to own. You buy it now," anticipating more overseas travel in the coming months, Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street." "I do believe that that is the stock to buy if you believe Europe is going to come back," the "Mad Money" host added. Last month, the European Union made it easier for Americans to travel to its 27 member countries by adding the U.S. to its safe-travel list . Previously, nonessential travel had been restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Major airlines have been working to add back lucrative trans-Atlantic routes , hoping to capture the pent-up demand from U.S. residents hankering for a vacation abroad. It is also good for American Express. While travel is important for American Express in general, cross-border payments have higher margins than domestic ones. In its first-quarter earnings report , released in April, American Express CEO Stephen Squeri said the company was seeing positive signs around domestic travel, "increasing our confidence" that the recovery will continue. However, Squeri said at the time, "Card member spending, excluding travel and entertainment categories, was 11 percent higher on an FX-adjusted basis than it was in the first quarter of 2019, and continues to represent the majority of spend on our network." On July 23, American Express is set to release second-quarter results, which may offer more insight into recent travel spending trends. Shares of American Express are up almost 43% year to date and more than 80% in the past 12 months. The stock closed at $172.52 apiece Wednesday, narrowly below its all-time high of $174.76 on July 7. Even so, Cramer said he likes the setup for investors, as more travel restrictions ease and people feel more comfortable with the level of coronavirus risk. "I still think American Express, which has got a great chart, is a coiled spring," Cramer said.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Investors who want to bet on the return of Americans traveling abroad after a coronavirus-driven halt can do so without buying airline stocks, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Wednesday.