A couple of observations on today’s black day for airline stocks.
One, the markets are in panic mode in general today — as fears of a continued economic slowdown shake the Street. This is not just an airline sector sell-off, it’s a general market fear-driven sell-off fueled by continuing concerns over the situation in Europe.
Two, the general market assumption is that if the economy goes south, so will airline revenues.
Three, in the case of AMR, the situation is particularly acute, because investors know the airline has lagged in revenue performance, and the airline is the most cash restrained of all the major airlines.
Four, fears of an impending AMR bankruptcy have been rumbling around and picking up traction for the last 30-45 days. Increasing numbers of retiring pilots do not help the situation, nor do continued analyst concerns over the airline’s long-term liquidity health.
Looking at the latest sector numbers for today, it looks as if shares of other airline stocks that were hammered earlier in the day into double-digit declines have bounced back a bit, while the volume of AMR shares traded continues to boggle the mind. Shares of AMR have climbed back a little bit since trading was resumed. Now shares are only down 30%, trading at around 2.07. Earlier in the day shares were down to 1.75.
The current trend is up, not down.