United, US Airways, COPA, JetBlue lead the way down. Airline sector looking delicate

Shares of United (-5.0%), US Airways (-5.0%), COPA (-4.9%), JetBlue (4.3%) showed the largest falls on Thursday.

Despite the Dow Jones index tracking upwards for most of the early part of trading, only to fall off in the back end of the day, most airlines set fairly sharply downwards from the first bell.

With few “investors’ in a market which is reportedly mostly occupied at present by traders, this could strike a nervous chord for airline stocks. If the Dow is negative on Friday, this could herald another steep decline for the fragile airline sector.

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North & South America airlines daily share price movements (% change): 30-Apr-09