Airline stock prices go up as oil prices go down

The general market may not have appreciated the economic news out Thursday. However, the airline industry very much liked the news about crude oil.

Airline stocks in general jumped Thursday after the International Energy Agency announced that it would release 60 million barrels of oil from members’ reserves over the next month.

That news sent oil prices downward. West Texas Intermediate closed just above $91 a barrel, down more than 4 percent, and Brent dropped 6 percent to just over $107 a barrel. And it sent airline stocks up.

A 4 percent decline in jet fuel prices would save U.S. airlines $1.7 billion, based on the $42.6 billion they spent on jet fuel in the 12 months ended April 30.

Below is a chart that showed the market capitalization (stock prices X number of shares outstanding) at the end of the day Thursday, plus the one-day change in their market cap. Numbers are in millions of dollars.

Airline Market cap Thursday’s gain
Southwest Airlines $8,534 $292
Delta Air Lines $8,408 $296
United Continental Holdings $8,308 $383
Alaska Air Group $2,457 $62
AMR $2,017 $100
JetBlue Airways $1,831 $35
US Airways Group $1,443 $70
Allegiant Travel $859 $13
SkyWest $803 $9
Hawaiian Holdings $295 $8
Republic Airways Holdings $225 $10
Pinnacle Airlines $82 $0.8
Total $35,263 $1,278

(Shares outstanding were taken from the airlines’ most recent proxy statements or quarterly 10-Q reports. No adjustment has been made for the additional Southwest Airlines shares issued to AirTran Airways shareholders after the May 2 merger.)

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