Southwest Airlines (LUV) may have had an extremely challenging year – but its stock is faring much better than you might expect. Shares are up almost 50% (on a six-month basis) heading into earnings.
Cowen's Helane Becker highlights LUV as her top airline stock for 2021, in part due to its focus on the leisure and vacation market. But the next six months look decidedly choppy, with Becker telling investors to prepare for "near-term pain to a leap of faith."
"With the lack of change fees, it's impossible to know if future bookings will lead to people getting on planes," Becker says. "There are still a lot of unknowns but 3Q21 is a crucial quarter and where the leap of faith needs to be, in our view."
In the meantime, we can get a better idea of Southwest's position by taking a closer look at its digital trends.