Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of air carrier US Airways Group (NYS: LCC) were nose up and heading higher today, gaining as much as 10% in intraday trading after regulators approved an airport slot swap with Delta (NYS: DAL) .
So what: The swap will have US Airways give 132 takeoff and landing slots at LaGuardia Airport in New York to Delta in exchange for 42 slot pairs at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, $66.5 million in cash, route rights for Sao Paulo, and a first-round pick in next year's draft (OK, I made that last part up). The airlines will also have to give up 16 LaGuardia and eight National slots to other airlines with little or no foothold at those airports.
The news actually seems like it could be more of a positive for Delta, which is gaining an iron grip on the bustling New York market. US Airways will bulk up its already substantial presence at National and pocketing some cash doesn't hurt either when you have a debt load like US Airways'.
Now what: I'm assuming that the overall market's positive momentum today is providing a lot of the juice for US Airways' move. This could prove to be a good swap for US Airways, but I'm not buying that this is an announcement worthy of a 10% jump. Of course bigger picture, traders may have a field day with wild airline stocks, but for the most part, I'm not really sure why a long-term investor would want to own one of the mainline airlines.
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