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European airline stocks slide on US market jitters

European stocks declined yesterday, as the US Federal Reserve reduced emergency funding programmes and home sales in the US declined by a worse than expected 2.7% in Aug-2009, prompting further concerns over the economic recovery.

The London FSTE closed 1.17% lower, while the Paris CAC Index dropped 1.66%. The Frankfurt DAX, which lost 1.70%, was further affected by the Ifo Institute’s report that business confidence did not meet forecast growth.

Citigroup downgraded several European carriers yesterday, including British Airways (shares down 4.3%) from “buy” to “hold” and SAS (-3.3%) from “hold” to “sell”. Air France-KLM’s (-3.5%) rating was maintained at “sell”, while UBS placed a "buy" rating on Lufthansa’s shares.

Elsewhere, Finnair rose (+4.4%), Austrian jumped (+3.0), while Aer Lingus gained (+1.0%). Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary stated it is “highly unlikely” the carrier will make a third bid for Aer Lingus, to increase its current stake from 29.0%.

Europe selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 24-Sep-2009