AP News

Airlines stocks soar as price of oil sinks

NEW YORK (AP) — Airlines stocks are getting a boost Wednesday from a drop in oil prices.

Oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange were down about 3 percent at midday and have dropped 7 percent so far this week. Gains among airlines range from 1.4 percent at Southwest Airlines Co. to almost 7 percent for United Continental Holdings Inc.

Jet fuel has become the airlines' biggest expense. They got a break on fuel this spring as oil prices fell sharply. Along with higher fares, that led to solid profits for most airlines in the quarter ended in June.

But oil prices have jumped more than 20 percent since then and most airline shares show declines for the July-September quarter.

Futures for heating oil, considered a proxy for jet fuel, were down about 2 percent at midday in New York.

US Airways Group Inc. shares rose 6.3 percent to $10.96, Delta Air Lines Inc. gained 4.1 percent to $9.33 and JetBlue Airways Corp. added 3.1 percent to $5.01.

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