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A Look at Airline Stocks’ Recent Performance

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Dec. 4 2020, Updated 10:53 a.m. ET

Stock performance in 2017

Most airline stocks have continued their gaining streak in 2017. As of February 14, 2017, Southwest Airlines (LUV) has seen the highest YTD (year-to-date) gain of 10.9%, followed by Alaska Airlines (ALK) with 8.5%. Allegiant Travels (ALGT) has gained 5.0%, United Continental (UAL) has gained 1.2%, and Delta Air Lines (DAL) has gained 1.4%.

The other three major airlines have declined in value. American Airlines (AAL) has lost 0.26%, JetBlue Airways (JBLU) has lost ~12.3%, and Spirit Airlines (SAVE) has lost 8.3% YTD.

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The S&P 500 SPDR ETF (SPY), which tracks the broader market, has gained 4.5%. Since air travel is a discretionary spend, it makes sense to compare airlines’ performance with the consumer discretionary sector’s, which is tracked by the Consumer Discretionary SPDR ETF (XLY). The consumer discretionary sector has gained almost 5.9% YTD.

2016 performance

In fiscal 2016, Delta Air Lines (DAL) lost ~5.9%, followed by Allegiant Travel (ALGT) with a 4% loss and JetBlue with a 3.9% loss. Other airline stocks gained. Spirit Airlines (SAVE) saw the highest gain of 33.5%, followed by United Continental (UAL) with a 21.9% gain and Southwest Airlines (LUV) with a 13.5% gain. Alaska Airlines stock gained ~10%, and American Airlines (AAL) gained ~6.6%.

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) rose about 8.7% in 2016, and the Consumer Discretionary SPDR ETF (XLY) gained 3.7%. Next, we’ll look at key upcoming events for the airline industry.

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