US Airways and United Continental stocks soar in strong earnings

Shares in United Continental and US Airways surged 7.1% and 6.6% - their biggest one day gains since Oct-2010 - as fourth quarter earnings came in ahead of market expectations.

Quarterly profit excluding one-time items at United Continental reached USD160 million, or USD 44 cents per share (ahead of market expectations of 24 cents), while US Airways reported net income of USD28 million, or 17 cents per share, compared with a loss of USD79 million, or USD0.49 per share, in the same quarter last year. US Airways stated revenue growth will outperform US GDP product this year and fare increases are helping offset higher fuel prices.

United expects to raise seating capacity by 1-2%, mostly on international routes, while US Airways previously forecast a 2% increase in capacity.

Selected North American airlines daily share price movements (% change): 26-Jan-2011