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The Associated Press April 28, 2010, 1:05PM ET

US Airways shares rise as analyst upgrades on 1Q

Shares of US Airways Group Inc. rose sharply Wednesday after an analyst upgraded the airline, citing its better-than-expected first-quarter results and improved liquidity.

Jesup & Lamont analyst Helane R. Becker raised her rating on US Airways to "Buy" from "Hold."

Becker wrote that the carrier's first-quarter adjusted loss of 55 cents per share compared to her firm's estimate of a loss of 74 cents per share.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a loss of 71 cents per share. US Airways reported its quarterly results on Tuesday.

She also noted that US Airways ended the quarter with $2 billion of cash on the balance sheet, of which $1.6 billion was unrestricted.

She added that the firm believes US Airways is still a player in consolidation, even though it recently decided to end merger talks with United Airlines.

"Management continues to believe that consolidation should occur in the airline industry, but in the short term, believes it can be successful as an independent airline," Becker wrote.

Shares of U.S. Airways, based in Tempe, Ariz., rose 59 cents, or 9.3 percent, to $6.92 in afternoon trading. The stock has ranged from $2 to $8.17 over the past year.

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