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Slower consumer spending hurts airlines

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Airlines could be the latest victims of sluggish consumer spending.

Southwest Airlines plunged 9 percent on Wednesday, dragging all the airline stocks down by about 4 percent or more. As a result, the Dow transports suffered, closing down 1.96 percent, while the industrial average ended just 0.15 percent lower. The transports are down nearly 7 percent so far this year.

The airline said on Tuesday that it expects second-quarter revenue per passenger unit to decline about 3 percent over the same period last year, with May the worst month. The fall comes after a 2 percent decline in April, year-over-year.