Westjet slumps. United, US Airways also lose, but Southwest finds some favour again

US shares fell late in the day, as the market sought clarity over US President Bush's bid to rescue US carmakers and awaited outcome of a Federal Reserve meeting expected to cut interest rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 65.15 points (-0.75%) to 8,564.53, the Nasdaq was down 32.38 points (-2.10%) to 1508.34 and the Standard & Poor's 500 fell 11.13 points (-1.27%) to 868.60.

Asian markets rebounded on 15-Dec-08, led by Japanese stocks, as investors brushed aside a survey showing business confidence plunged, on hopes for a US interest-rate cut and after the Bush administration stated it would step in to prevent a failure of US car industry. The Nikkei surged 428.79 points (+5.21%) to 8664.66, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 288.56 (+1.96%) to 15046.95. The Australian share market also closed stronger, driven higher by resource stocks following commodity price rises over the weekend. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 81 points (+2.31%) to 3591.4.

European stock markets were gently down. London's FTSE lost -2.79 points (-0.07%) closing at 4277.56, the Paris the CAC 40 fell -27.94 (-0.87%) to 3185.66, while the Frankfurt Dax 30 lost 103.83 (-2.18%) closing at 4663.37.

Oil prices

Oil prices fell again on 15-Dec-08 as the market ignored a likely OPEC supply cut to refocus on demand. Light, sweet crude prices for January delivery decreased USD1.77 (-3.8%) closing at USD44.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Airline share prices 15-Dec-08

On the day Westjet's founder, David Neeleman, launched his Brazilian startup, Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras SA, Westjet (-10.1%) suffered a rude withdrawal of support from investors who had been steadily pushing the company's shares upwards recently.

But, in contrast, Southwest, which had been suffering shareholder neglect over the past couple of weeks was one of only two carriers to find themselves on the right side of the ledger.

US Airways and United also lost ground , for no particular reason, other than the vagaries of the current market.

North America selected airlines share price movements (% change): 15-Dec-08

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