Are recent highs in online travel stocks a sign of consumers dreaming of getting away from the harsh wintry weather or is there more to it?
Shares of Obitz spiked 31% on Thursday after the company beat Wall Street estimates for profits and revenues. Rival Expedia, which spun off from IAC several years ago, is trading at its all-time highs.
And then there's Priceline.
Shares of Priceline aren't just exceeding their pre-Web 1.0 bubble price in 1999. On a price basis, Priceline is now the highest-priced stock ever in the S&P 500 index. On Wednesday, analysts at Piper Jaffrey raised its price target on the company to $1,400.
According to Ron Dottin, Senior US Quantitative Analyst at RBC Capital Markets, online travel stocks aren't just up because temperatures are down in North America.
"It's related to the fact that these stocks are the only real growth stocks in the marketplace today," says Dottin on CNBC's Street Signs' Talking Numbers segment. "It's a really hard environment for growth overall; the S&P 500 sales growth is only growing 4%. These companies are giving you double-digit sales growth."
However, Steve Cortes, founder of Veracruz TJM, believes investors should be cautious, particularly with Priceline based on the stock's technicals.
"The chart is telling me beware the price in Priceline," says Cortes. "This stock is extremely expensive, both fundamentally and technically."
Cortes notes that Priceline's price is now the furthest it's been from its technically significant 50-day moving average in the past two months.
"That marked a high that then put in a 7% correction in Priceline," says Cortes. "The technicals are saying that this stock is extremely stretched and it is very rich at this price."
To see the rest of the discussion on Priceline and other travel stocks with Dottin on the fundamentals and Cotes on the technicals, watch the video above.
[Disclosures: RBC Capital Markets provides or has provided Expedia with non-securities and non-investment banking securities-related services in the past 12 months.]
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