Watch stocks you care about
The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...
Your own personalized stock watchlist!
It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...
Much maligned for their history of disappointing not only customers but also employees and shareholders, airlines have nevertheless enjoyed a banner quarter. Two of the largest -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL ) and United Continental (NYSE: UAL ) -- have enjoyed some of the best returns over that period, up 36% and 23%, respectively.
Both carriers are expected to announce lower profits when reporting Q4 results this week. Not surprising, really, when you consider that oil prices are up about 5% over the quarter. Yet some other carriers are thriving: US Airways (NYSE: LCC ) expects to report a 46% jump in profit this week.
If the airlines are to continue to rally, it'll take more than a slim earnings beat, says Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova contributor Tim Beyers. Click the video below to hear about the one statistic he believes matters most to airline investors. And where you're done, please leave a comment to let us know what you think about the major carriers and their peers, and whether you'd invest in any of them at current prices.
More expert advice from The Motley Fool
For as much as volatile energy prices have taken a toll on airlines in years past, long-term investors know that you want exposure to the energy sector now. We've picked one incredible natural gas company that presents a rare "double-play" investment opportunity today. We're calling it The One Energy Stock You Must Own Before 2014, and you can uncover it today, totally free, in our premium research report. Click here to read more.