Airbnb received a rare double upgrade to a buy rating from Gordon Haskett this week. The firm sees improving trends, particularly in Europe, as a boon for the vacation-rental stock.
But Airbnb has languished this year in comparison to fast growing challenger Expedia, which owns competitor VRBO. Airbnb stock has fallen 2% in 2021, while Expedia is up 22%.
Airbnb's stock may have been a victim of a rotation away from high-priced growth stocks, according to Gina Sanchez, chief market strategist at Lido Advisors and CEO of Chantico Global.
"It just faced the mother of all stress tests, and it is offering growth, and therefore isn't necessarily value," Sanchez told CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Tuesday. "The trade for the first half of this year was growth at a reasonable price. That's what Expedia promised."
Now, Sanchez sees a move back toward bets on high growth stocks like Airbnb where higher valuations are tolerated for the prospect of future earnings.
"The trade for the second half of the year is growth, and that's really what Airbnb is setting itself up for. And so if you're looking forward rather than back, you're looking at opportunities to provide significant growth, and that's really where you have to look at Airbnb," said Sanchez.
Airbnb is not expected to post a full-year profit until 2022. Expedia, by comparison, is forecast to have rebounded back into the black this year after last year's steep loss.
Todd Gordon, founder of TradingAnalysis.com, sits on the other side of the trade. He's backing Expedia.
"I believe that the technical position of Airbnb is struggling, trying to hold that $145 IPO price from back in December, while Expedia is moving nicely higher. Expedia, if it can break above $160, that looks really, really good," Gordon said during the same interview.
Airbnb closed Tuesday at $143.41 a share and Expedia closed at $162.02.