Blogs & Comment

Airline stocks in flight

An article today on about the airline sector reminded me of my postearlier this year suggesting the Claymore/NYSE Arca Airline ETF ( FAA) as a speculative buy. Lets check in with the industry to see whats up these days.
It appears Wall Street has recently gotten bullish, with Morgan Stanley leading the charge by upgrading their rating from neutral to overweight. The piece also noted there were signs of a rebound in airline traffic. Heathrow Airport, for example, had its busiest month on record in August, carrying 6.4-million passengers. All this news might account for the 23% run up over the past month, and a gain of about 40% from the date of the blog post.
But the authorwas still pessimistic about the industrys ability to take capacity off the market and support air fares. This reduction is happening in the U.S. and at airlines like Lufthansa and British Airways, but other European airlines are still adding planes. The author also thought costs had not been cut enough and there was an ongoing shift away from business travel toward videoconferencing.
Well, the author may be right — or there may still be more momentum to ride in FAA. Whatever the case, the FAA position was just a speculative, mad money bet. And a 40% gain in 9 months is nothing to sneeze at. I would be inclined to take profits at this stage and let my core position in broad-based ETFs take the controlsfor the longer run.