SpiceJet performs in changing Indian market. Chinese airlines lose momentum as restructuring begins

US counter-cyclical investor, WL Ross, looks to be on a winner as India's Spicejet (+11.4% on Friday) projects a profitable future and begins hiring new pilots, with a 20% increase in frequency by the end of the financial year. Lower fuel prices and Indian taxes have created a better environment, as other airlines cut back and consolidate.

Meanwhile, China's major airlines lost a little of the momentum created by the capital injections of the last couple of weeks and Air China suffered, presumably over concerns that a stronger China Eastern will reduce its dominance (see today's perspective, "China Southern likely to merge with Shanghai Airlines. China's airline shakeup begins").

In Australia, troubled Virgin Blue lost another 5.4% of its value, in an Australian market that is cooling quickly.

Asia Pacific share markets fell on 12-Dec-08, following weakness in US markets on 11-Dec-08, caused by doubts over a rescue package for US car makers. North Asia was worst affected. The Hong Kong Hang Seng fell 1076.69 points (-6.9%) to 14537.21, the Tokyo Nikkei decreased 484.68 points (-5.87%) to 8,235.87, while the Australian ASX200 fell 87.6 points (-2.43%) to 3510.4 on 12-Dec-08.

European stock markets were down on the day, despite the European Union's announcement of a EUR200 billion economic stimulus anti-recession plan. London's FTSE lost 108.34 points (-2.47%) closing at 4280.35. In Paris the CAC 40 fell 92.53 (-2.80%) to 3213.6, while the Frankfurt DAX 30 lost 103.83 (-2.18%), closing at 4663.37.

US markets. Then, after most of the other markets were closed, US shares gained a little traction, due to speculation the US government will boost spending on technology. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 64.59 points (+0.8%), to 8,629.68, the Nasdaq climbed 17.27 (+1.46%) to 1200.74, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 2.9 points (+0.69%) to 425.22.

Oil prices

Oil prices fell on 12-Dec-08, by USD1.70 a barrel (-3.54%), closing at USD46.28 a barrel. OPEC is expected to announce plans to drastically cut output to lift oil prices after its members meet on 17-Dec-08.

Asia Pacific selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 12-Dec-08