September 28, 2020

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American Airlines stock rockets to record gain, on signs that the worst is over for airlines

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American Airlines stock rockets to record gain, on signs that the worst is over for airlines
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Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. soared to a record gain on record volume Thursday, to lead a broad rally in the airline sector, after the carrier indicated it was boosting capacity amid increasing signs that the worst of the COVID-19-related crisis was over.

The stock AAL, +41.09% rocketed 41.3% to the highest close since March 10, marking the biggest one-day percentage gain since it started trading in its current form in December 2013. The previous record rally of 35.8% was on March 24, in anticipation of the passage of a government bailout package.

Trading volume ballooned to 394.4 million shares, surpassing the previous record of 138.1 million shares on April 7, and compared with the full-day average of about 71.7 million shares.

The stock led the 30 of 33 equity components of the U.S. Global Jets exchange-traded fund JETS, +11.58% that rose Thursday, by wide margin. In second was Spirit Airlines Inc.’s stock SAVE, +21.43% which jumped 21.4%.

American said Thursday that it expects to fly in July about 55% of the domestic capacity that was flown during July 2019, as load factor improved 55% at the end of May from 15% for the month of April.

“We’re seeing a slow but steady rise in domestic demand,” said Vasu Raja, senior vice president of network strategy. “After a careful review of data, we’ve built a July schedule to match.”

American’s stock has now rocketed 59.4% this week amid a four-day win streak, which would be its biggest-ever weekly gain, topping the previous record of 35.3% for the week ended March 27.

The increasing demand American has seen is in sync with other industry data points, which suggest a continued bounce in travel demand off a bottom seen in April. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said that the daily average per week (through Sunday) of travelers going through its checkpoints has improved for six straight weeks, according to a MarketWatch analysis of government data.

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