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Two Important Things to Know About Continental and Southwest Earnings

Earnings for Southwest and Continental came out today, and if there are two things to keep in mind when you hear about the numbers, these are them:

  1. You've probably seen it plastered all over the wires today . . . Southwest lost money in a quarter for the first time since the first Gulf War. Despite what others may say, this doesn't mean the world is ending. There were $247 million in charges mostly related to "mark-to-market adjustments on a portion of the future periods' fuel hedge portfolio." Without that non-cash accounting charge that revalues future fuel hedges at the current market rates, the airline was still profitable. Nothing to see here, keep moving.
  2. Continental lost $145 million excluding special items. That's not great, but remember that their Houston hub was hit pretty hard by Hurricane Ike. In fact, they estimate that it cost them about $50 million. Keep that in mind when reviewing their numbers.
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