Sector Snap: Airlines surge as oil keeps dropping

AP News
Posted: Dec 11, 2009 12:30 PM

Airline stocks took off Friday as oil tumbled for the eighth straight day and stocks in the broader market climbed after a positive retail sales report.

A nine-month rally in oil prices crumbled this week as the dollar strengthened and traders focused more attention on the country's enormous stockpile of oil and natural gas.

The contract for January delivery gave up 35 cents to $70.19 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude prices had doubled from March to October.

Also Friday, the Commerce Department indicated consumers are picking up their spending, as retail sales rose 1.3 percent in November. That's more than double the increase analysts had expected and better than the 1.1 percent rise in October.

In midday trading, the Amex Airline index gained 4.4 percent, with all of its 13 components gaining ground.

Among airline stocks, United Airlines parent UAL Corp. surged 82 cents, or 8 percent, to $10.99. Delta Air Lines Inc. gained 75 cents, or 7.6 percent, to $10.63. American Airlines parent AMR Corp. added 47 cents, or 6.5 percent, to reach $7.51.