Investors are boarding travel-related stocks again.

Despite the clear uncertainties as we head into a hazy holiday season and an even cloudier 2010, Mr. Market apparently isn't afraid of hitching a ride on some of the country's largest travel stocks.

In fact, half of the biggest percentage movers on the New York Stock Exchange over the last week were airlines and a standout car-rental agency.



% Change

US Airways (NYSE:LCC)






Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL)



Avis Budget (NYSE:CAR)



This isn't just a week of exclamation points. US Airways, American Airlines parent AMR, and Delta are actually still trading lower in 2009. However, the travel sector on a whole has been a bit more resilient. Shares of leading portals Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) and (NASDAQ:PCLN) have more than tripled this year. Avis Budget rival Dollar Thrifty (NYSE:DTG) is roughly a 20-bagger since the year began.

Clearly there are certain factors that moved the air carriers specifically this week. A strengthening dollar sent oil prices slightly lower. Buoyant employment news on Friday cheered hopes for a busy holiday travel season this month.

A single week won't define a movement. As noted earlier, all three of last week's winning air carriers remain in the red this year. However, optimism has to start somewhere. Before you ascend, you must first leave the ground.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves to travel, though usually when there aren't so many people in front of him at the airport. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.