US Airways shines again; Southwest back in favour; JetBlue up and fuel down

US stocks soared in late trading on 16-Dec-08 as investors applauded the Federal Reserve's decision to cut its target federal funds rate from 1.0%, already at a historic low, to 0.25%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 362.32 points (+4.23%) to 8,926.85, the Nasdaq jumped 81.55 points (+5.41%) to 1,589.89 and the S&P500 index rose 44.69 points (+5.13%) to a preliminary close of 913.18.

Asian shares closed mixed on the day. Japan's Nikkei average slipped -96.64 points (-1.12%) to 8568.02, as investors took profits before the key US Federal Reserve meeting to slash interest rates, while the Australian S&P/ASX200 index was down 35.2 points (-0.98%) at 3556.2. The Hang Seng closed on positive territory up 83.26 (+0.55%) to 15130.21, China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index on the Shanghai Stock Exchange gained 10.63 points (+0.54) 1,975.01, while the Mumbai Sensex also closed on positive territory up 144.59 points (+1.47%) to 9,976.98.

European stocks also rose on 16-Dec-08. London's FTSE increased 31.52 points to (+0.74% ), closing at 4309.08, the Paris CAC 40 rose 66.0 (+2.07%) to 3251.66, while the Frankfurt Dax 30 was up 75.09 (+1.61%) closing at 4729.91.

Oil prices

Oil prices fell yet again as worries about shrinking global energy demand countered a US Federal Reserve interest rate cut and expectations OPEC will reduce supplies further. Oil prices fell USD0.60 (-2%) to USD43.91 a barrel. Oil ministers from OPEC are expected to announce plans cut output by 2 million barrels a day on 17-Dec-08, while Russia, the top non-OPEC producer, stated it could reduce exports by 320,000 barrels per day to balance oil markets increase prices.

US airlines 16-Dec-08

All US airlines rose with the tide on Tuesday, but best performing was US Airways (+12.6%), with news around of its continuing staff reductions and hopes of a better quarter. JetBlue (10.2%) was a winner too, as reduced interest rates and the promise of positive government action offered a better outlook.

And Southwest Airlines (+5.3%) also continued its recovery of confidence, reversing the negative sentiment that has surrounded it in recent weeks.

North America selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 16-Dec-08