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How Do Airline Stocks Perform During The Holiday Travel Season?

How Do Airline Stocks Perform During The Holiday Travel Season?|NASDAQ: AALNYSE: DALNYSE: LUVNYSE: UAL

Now that November has rolled around, holiday travelers are already bracing themselves for nightmarish holiday airport crowds. The holiday travel season, running from Thanksgiving through New Year's, is one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

All those holiday travelers are great news for the “Big Four” U.S. airline companies: Delta Air Lines, Inc. DAL 0.94%, Southwest Airlines Co LUV 0.46%, American Airlines Group Inc AAL 1.49% and United Continental Holdings Inc UAL 0.52%. But how well has the holiday travel season treated airline investors?

In Review

Benzinga took a look back at how the Big Four airline stocks have performed from November 16 through January 15 in each of the past eight years.

As it turns out, airline investors have had mostly happy holidays since 2008. While the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY 0.23% has averaged only a 0.3 percent gain during the two-month period since 2008, the Big Four airline stocks have delivered an average gain of 13.6 percent.

The top holiday performer in the past eight years has been Delta, which has averaged an impressive 20.8 percent two-month gain. Delta has delivered gains of at least 39 percent during three of the past eight holiday travel seasons.

Of course, the past isn’t always predictive of the future. Last year, airline investors got burned when the Big Four delivered an average two-month return of -12.7 percent. It was only the second time that airline stocks were down overall during the holiday season in the past eight years.

So far in 2016, the Big Four airlines are down an average of 4.4 percent.

© 2016 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.