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Two Ways To Play: Airlines Take Off


Strengthen your portfolio in good times and bad.

Airline stocks had a big day today due in part to United Airlines parent UAL Corp (UAUA). Shares of the stock rose the most since the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2006 after the UAL reported better-than-expected second-quarter results and a number of cost-cutting moves.

For the second quarter, UAL reported a loss of $2.73 billion mainly due to record-setting jet-fuel prices. Jet-fuel expenses for the company jumped 53% from a year earlier to $1.85 billion, outpacing face increases and new fees.

But the company announced it will cut 7,000 job, or approximately 13% of its workforce. UAL also said it will free up approximately $350 million in previously restricted cash due to an accord with JPMorgan Chase (JPM). UAL will receive a $600 million infusion from the sale of frequent flier miles to Chase for distribution to credit-card holders.

The stock jumped 64% today to close at $8.41. Other notables include Continental Airlines (CAL) +43% to $13.26, AMR Corp (AMR), +37.44% to $9.25, and Delta (DAL) +17.5% to $7.71.

From the Bull Pen: Part of the sentiment in the airlines was due to crude oil's three dollar pullback. But bulls know some of the sharpest corrections occur in the context of a bull market. With that thought in mind, USO near $100 may look like a good risk/reward opportunity.

From the Bear Cave: "Short squeeze," says Boo. The airlines have never been able to make money and they likely won't do so now.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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