There's a lot going on during the holiday season, but it's worth taking time to consider your investments. Several industries particularly benefit from the Thanksgiving to New Year's period. They may be worth a close look -- and quickly so you can take full advantage of any business upswing.
The most logical option, retail, usually receives a sizable bump from holiday shoppers. Likewise airlines and shipping stocks can benefit from holiday traveling and gift-giving. Cruise lines, airlines and other companies that offer services for vacationers may also see some improvement that can help fatten an investor's portfolio.
While there are no guaranteed patterns, you might want to consider buying any of the six stocks below.
The most obvious impact the holidays make are on the retail industry. Retailers do 20% of the year's business during the holiday season, so there's not a more important time of the year than this. However, investors face more decisions than ever because of the skyrocketing influence of online retailers.
That said, the National Retail Federation (NRF) expects a decent 3.7% increase in sales, which outpaces the ten-year average. The NRF predicts an 8% to 12% increase in online sales this coming holiday season.
To take advantage of this, consider Amazon (AMZN). It is arguably the best-known online retailers and can be quite volatile, but it remains a good bet. Blue Nile (NILE), the online jewelry retailer, is another stock to consider. It's a fast-growing company that's exceeding expectations when it comes to earnings. This December could be a big month for both companies.
Transportation companies that ship packages see a huge rise in business during the holidays, and a couple of these stocks have track records of strong financial results. To be sure, some of these stocks have been on the downtrend in 2015, but their fortunes are looking up as the year comes to a close. FedEx (FDX) and the United Parcel Service (UPS) are moving upward as we approach the holiday season. Both are steady, worthwhile stocks in which to invest.
Leisure industries (think hotels, air travel, casinos and cruises) are a good barometer for the overall economy, as they often dip when people can't afford those luxuries but rebound when people have the means for fun. The holidays are one of the busiest travel times of the year, as people have free time combined with the urge to go somewhere warmer.
Back in the bad days of 2008, the leisure industries were hit especially hard. Now, they're making a comeback. Analysts are optimistic about Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCL) and recently lifted it's price target from $98 to $107. The cruise industry as a whole is seeing growth thanks to reaching untapped markets in China. JetBlue Airways (JBLU) isn't a leisure stock but it's become a convenient, affordable way for folks to visit family and reach warm-weather regions in the U.S.
Preparing for the New Year
When January rolls around, investors begin rebalancing their portfolios for the coming year. In December, it's common to see sell-offs as people get rid of stocks in light of the closing tax year.
In the New Year, the so-called January Effect kicks in. This period, where investors are buying up new stocks, is a good time to invest in small caps and value stocks as there's often growth in January.
It might still feel like the 2015 holiday season is off in the distance, but the holidays will be here before you know it. Start thinking about your holiday stocks now.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.