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American Airlines' shares jump after earnings beat, strong 2019 profit forecast

Key Points
  • American's fourth-quarter profits top expectations.
  • The carrier issued an upbeat earnings forecast for 2019.
  • Its stock surges after the report.
American Airlines plane
Silas Stein | picture alliance | Getty Images

American Airlines shares jumped Thursday after the company posted fourth-quarter profits that beat analysts' expectations and forecast higher 2019 profits than Wall Street estimates.

The airline's per-share earnings came in at $1.04 on an adjusted basis, slightly above the $1.01 analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected. American's net income, excluding special items, rose 8 percent to $481 million.

Revenue in the last three months of 2018 was $10.94 billion, just below the $10.95 billion Wall Street expected and up 3 percent from a year earlier.

Shares were up 5 percent in midday trading.

American said its revenue for each seat it flies per mile, a key industry gauge of how much airlines are collecting from each traveler and how well it is managing their supply, will be flat to up 2 percent in the first quarter of the year. Per-share earnings in 2019 will likely range from $5.50 to $7.50, higher than than analysts' estimates.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect American Airlines' fourth-quarter net income was $481 million.