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The Man Who Moved Airline Stocks

Tuesday, 16 Jun 2009 | 5:42 PM ET

Airline stocks have been having a rough month. Earlier in June the International Air Transport Association estimated that global carriers could lose $9 billion this year due to rising fuel prices and weak demand.

That one little tidbit sent shares tumbling as you can see from the chart below.

"Investors in the airline industry are so sensitive to any new data point that may change the outlook or prospects for recovery," explains Majestic Research analyst Matt Jacob, referring to the IATA data.

However, not all airline stocks may be created equal, at least according to Stifel Nicolaus airline analyst Hunter Keay.

Although he has a hold on American, United and Southwest he also thinks two airlines are buys.

You read that right -- buys!

Keay has buy ratings on Continental and Delta. "Those two are the blue chip of the large carriers in the United States," he says.

Crude Weighs On Airlines
Crude's recent run is weighing on airline stocks, with Hunter Keay, Stifel Nicolaus airline analyst and the Fast Money traders.

We were so intrigued we invited him to join us on Fast Money. We learned Keay's bullishness on these two airlines is kind of a "Last of the Mohicans" trade.

"If the economic downturn stays this bad over the next 6-9 months I think we could see a liquidity crisis in the space," explains Keay. "Continental and Delta have the best cash positions on the balance sheet right now."

In other words, if the economy foces some airlines to go out of business Continental and Delta should be survivors and the beneficiaires.

We thought you'd want to know. To see our entire interview with Hunter Keay please watch the video.


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Trader disclosure: On June 16th, 2009, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Terranova Owns (TER); (SDS); (ABT);Terranova Owns (RIMM) & Short (RIMM) Calls; Terranova Is Short (RIG); Terranova Owns (BRCM) & Short (BRCM) Calls; Terranova Owns (MS) & Short (MS) Calls; Terranova Is Short (FCX); Terranova Owns (GENZ) & Short (GENZ) Calls; Terranova Owns (HES) & Short (HES) Calls; Terranova Is Short (XOM) Call Spread; Terranova Owns (DIS) Call Spread; Terranova Owns (X) & Short (X) Calls; Terranova Owns (JPM) & Short (JPM) Calls; Terranova Owns (BTU) & Short (BTU) Calls; Terranova Is Short August Gold Futures; Terranova Owns (POT) & Short (POT) Calls; Terranova Is Short Septmeber Oil Futures; Terranova Owns December Oil Futures; Terranova Owns August Nat Gas Futures; Terranova Owns (IBM) & Short (IBM) Calls; Terranova Is Short (OIH) & (OIH) Calls; Najarian Owns (BX) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (F) & Short (F) Calls; Najarian Owns (FCX) Calls & Put Spread; Najarian Owns (GE) Calls; Najarian Owns (INTC) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (MOS) Put Spread; Najarian Owns (PALM) Calls; Najarian Owns (WNR); Najarian Owns (JPM) & Short (JPM) Calls; Najarian Owns (RIMM) Call Spread; Najaria Owns (LEA) Calls; Kelly Owns (UUP), (TLT), (AN), (UGA), (AMZN), (BBY), (DSX), (LOW), (PAL); Kelly Is Short (FXS); Seymour Owns (AAPL), (BAC), (BX), (EEM), (FXI), (FCX), (FITB), (TTM); Seymour's Firm Owns (NOK)

Stifel, Nicolaus Expects To Receive Compensation from (AMR)
Stifel, Nicolaus Expects To Receive Compensation from (CAL)
Stifel, Nicolaus Expects To Receive Compensation from (DAL)
Stifel, Nicolaus Expects To Receive Compensation from (LUV)
Stifel, Nicolaus Makes A Markets In Securities of (UAUA)

CNBC.com with wires

  Price   Change %Change
AAL
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CPT
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DAL
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LUV
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