What's happening in the headlines can affect you as an investor. Here's what's going on, what you need to know, and what you can expect next.

The headline
Financial Times is reporting that AMR (NYSE: AMR), the bankrupt parent company of American Airlines, will lose its listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

The details
The shares will come down the first week in January, after trading for more than 70 years on the exchange. NYSE said AMR was "no longer suitable for listing" because the company's shares had fallen below the exchange's minimum requirements. Its average closing price has fallen below $1 for more than 30 days. The decision comes after AMR filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the end of November.

Now what?
Regularly scheduled bankruptcy seems to be the new norm for American carriers. Many of AMR's peers went through it already and were consequently able to reduce burdensome labor costs such as union contracts and pensions. AMR narrowly avoided it in 2003, but maybe should have just gotten it over with along with everyone else. Carriers who filed previously include:

  • US Airways (NYSE: LCC) in 2002 and 2004.
  • United (NYSE: UAL) in 2002.
  • Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) in 2005.

But even if AMR successfully emerges from bankruptcy, equity investors will likely be wiped out during the restructuring, as bondholders typically have the first call on assets. In its bankruptcy filing, AMR said it had assets of about $25 billion and liabilities of about $30 billion.

AMR said investors would likely be able to continue to trade its securities using the OTC Bulletin Board and Pink Sheets electronic quotation service. Trading securities in bankrupt companies is highly speculative, however, and is not something we at The Motley Fool recommend.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.