A regional carrier with a tailwind of profitability goes public just as the economy shows signs of life and it's not JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) Two. Quite the contrary, actually, as the market's lukewarm reaction to Pinnacle Airlines (NASDAQ:PNCL) yesterday can attest.

With a ticker symbol reminiscent of a pencil without the vowels, the market went for the eraser instead as the IPO, offered at $14 a share, closed out its first trading day at the $13.10 hangar.

Maybe the fact that all of the 19.4 million shares in the offering came from the pension plan of its parent Northwest Airlines (NASDAQ:NWAC), which also offered to cover any overallotments from its remaining stake in the company, sent a crippling vote of no confidence to the investing community. The original pricing range for the offering was actually in the high teens before being marked down to $14.

Then again, it's more likely that Wall Street is smart enough to look past the sector's recent price gains to find a banged-up sector inside. While major carriers such as AMR (NYSE:AMR) and Delta (NYSE:DAL) have seen their shares more than double off their March lows, the industry is still ripe with deficits and sky-high debt levels.

Operating as Express Airlines I until last year, investors seem poised to just sit this one out until Pinnacle proves itself. Rare are the consistent companies like Southwest (NYSE:LUV), which announced its 109th consecutive quarterly dividend last week, or JetBlue, which has captured the market's fancy by providing a quality product at an attractive price point while still managing to turn a profit.

So, don't bail on Pinnacle just yet. Wait until the captain has turned off the "fasten your seatbelts" sign.

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