Europe airline stocks subdued; Austrian Airlines' buyer is not paying

European airline share prices were almost modest in their movements yesterday, as European markets hovered around even.

Austrian Airlines showed relatively little impact from the announcement by its government shareholder that Lufthansa was:

(a) the only buyer left standing; and
(b) paying only a nominal price for the airline.

This latter fact creates issues for EU competition provisions, making the tailoring of the acquisition a delicate process. But the market appears to believe that this is no more than a formality - always a dangerous assumption with the EU, which this week determined that the residue of Alitalia must reimburse the Italian government for its EUR 300 million loan.

European selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 13-Nov-08

US Airways - anyone for the racetrack?

Investment is hardly the word to describe a purchase in US Airways stock.

Over the past six weeks, the carrier's market capitalisation has fluctuated regularly by over 20% on a day-to-day basis, nearly touching USD11 at one extreme last week and just topping USD3 a month ago.

Yesterday was a down day, losing 24.9% of value. Someone is making lots of money, someone is losing lots. But, for US Airways' board and lenders, it can hardly be a laughing matter.

US Airways share price: 01-Sep-08 to 13-Nov-08

Overall, US airline stocks ended the day on Wall St in substantially positive mood.
But this hid a massive roller coaster ride for the Dow Jones Index, which at one stage was 5% down, closing up 6.7%.

North America selected airlines share price movements (% change): 13-Nov-08