Sectors of the stock market in the United States are broken down by companies that specialize in certain industries such as financials, consumer staples, and consumer discretionary. These broad sectors can be further subdivided. For example, consumer discretionary industries -- businesses that historically garner larger profits in prosperous economic times -- contain divisions such as travel stocks. Publicly traded securities considered travel stocks include those of airlines, cruise lines, hotels, restaurants, and online travel services.
The airline industry in the United States is made up of small private companies and a dozen or so larger publicly traded corporations. American Airlines, stock symbol AMR; Continental Airlines Incorporated, stock symbol CAL; and Delta Air Lines Inc., stock symbol DAL, are three examples. Airline companies and subsequently their stocks benefit from increased consumer travel, especially during times of lower fuel prices.
Cruise line travel stocks include Royal Caribbean, stock symbol RCL, and Carnival Corporation, stock symbol CCL. Carnival Corporation, which operates under several brand names, states that their Carnival Cruise Lines is the most profitable cruise line internationally and the most recognized cruise brand in North America.
Hotels and Accommodations
The travel industry contains several publicly traded companies that specialize in hotels and accommodations for travelers. Examples include: Intercontinental Hotels Group, stock symbol IHG; Marriott International Inc., stock symbol MAR; Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., stock symbol HOT; Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, stock symbol WYN; and Wynn Resorts Ltd., stock symbol WYNN. Wyndham, described by the New York Stock Exchange as a hospitality company, operates in three divisions of the travel industry: hotels and lodging, vacation rentals, and vacation property ownerships.
According to Yum! Brands, it is the "world's largest restaurant company" with 37,000 stores worldwide. Although restaurant stocks are not strictly travel stocks, companies that specialize in fast-foods and convenient dining experiences show historical tendencies to benefit from increased consumer travel. In addition to Yum! Brands, other popular restaurant stocks include those of McDonald's Corporation, traded under the symbol MCD, and Darden Restaurants, stock symbol DRI.
Online Travel Services
With the advent of online travel agencies and trip services, companies such as Priceline, traded under stock symbol PCLN, along with Expedia Inc. (EXPE) and Orbitz Worldwide (OWW) fit neatly into a listing of travel stocks. These companies provide services that permit vacationers and business travelers to arrange all the details of a trip online from the convenience of one website.