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3 Undervalued Travel Stocks We Like

These names stand to benefit from a resumption of leisure travel -- and are all trading below our fair value estimates.

Fears surrounding the duration and severity of the coronavirus pandemic have weighed on travel stocks, creating opportunity for long-term investors. Today we’re looking at three of our favorite travel names. 

Our first pick is Expedia (EXPE). While COVID-19 will stress Expedia's financial health in the near term, we think the firm will maintain its sizable network advantage over the long term once the virus is contained. True, Expedia faces elevated debt leverage in 2020, but we believe it has enough liquidity to operate under anemic demand conditions through 2021. We expect Expedia's network advantage to remain intact and possibly strengthen after the COVID-19 crisis, because we think smaller peers would be challenged to fund the substantial human and operational capital needed to replicate the company's platform. Further, Expedia's new management team is focused on reinvesting cost efficiency into loyalty and user experience, which should support its network advantage. We assign Expedia a narrow Economic Moat Rating and a $127 fair value estimate. 

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) remains a favorite, given its wide margin of safety to our fair value estimate. The pandemic’s impact on capacity and occupancy levels are likely to be significant when sailing resumes, but recent commentary that pricing for 2021 has been holding up well implies that demand should recover. In our opinion, current concerns are transitory, and plenty of global demand remains untapped to support industry growth once the virus abates. Cruise companies are expanding the demand pie by tapping into new geographies and demographics via wider market segmentation than in the past. We think Norwegian can pivot nimbly to capitalize on evolving consumer trends and increase earnings per share growth by at least a double-digit pace annually between 2023 and 2027. We think shares are worth $25 apiece. 

Our last pick is Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (WH). We believe investors are discounting the firm’s brand-intangible asset and switching-cost advantages. While sales will be materially affected by the pandemic, we expect Wyndham to outperform industry demand this year, given its exposure to economy/midscale units in nonurban and off-interstate locations, and 70% of its room nights tied to leisure. These exposures tend to outperform when the economy contracts and individuals emphasize road trips versus air travel, such as they are this year. Further, Wyndham’s financial health remains good despite COVID-19 challenges. Longer term, the company’s scale will continue to offer third-party owners advertising, reservation, and loyalty program reach that can’t be achieved by smaller competitors. We assign Wyndham a narrow Economic Moat Rating and a $63.00 fair value estimate.

Senior equity analysts Dan Wasiolek and Jaime Katz provided the research behind this segment.