From: Reuters
Published March 26, 2008 12:42 PM

Airline shares fall sharply on oil rally

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Airline stocks fell sharply on Wednesday as the price of a barrel of oil -- directly linked to the price of jet fuel -- rallied more than $4.

Delta Air Lines <DAL.N> shares suffered the largest percentage decline in midday trading, falling 10.2 percent to $8.95 on the New York Stock Exchange. Northwest Airlines <NWA.N> shares were down 9.8 percent at $9.06 on the NYSE. The Amex airline index <.XAL> shed 7.6 percent.

Calyon Securities analyst Ray Neidl said the drop in share prices was the result of the oil price spike. Nymex crude <CLc1> was up $4.20 at $105.42.

Earlier on Wednesday, AMR Corp <AMR.N>, parent of American Airlines, said it voluntarily canceled nearly 10 percent of its flights to check plane wiring to comply with a request by the Federal Aviation Administration.

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AMR shares were weaker after the news and were down 7.4 percent at $8.92 on the NYSE.

Shares of UAL Corp <UAUA.O>, parent of United Airlines, were down 7.8 percent at $22.24 on Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Kyle Peterson; Editing by Brian Moss)

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