Southwest Airlines tops profit and revenue expectations

Southwest Airlines Co. LUV, -5.03% reported third-quarter net income that rose to $615 million, or $1.08 a share, from $528 million, or 88 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was $1.06. Revenue increased 5.1% to $5.58 billion, above the Factset consensus of $5.57 billion. Revenue per available seat mile (RASM) increased 1.2%, as passenger revenue yield grew 2.3% while load factor fell 0.9 percentage points to 83.9%. economic fuel costs rose to $2.25 a gallon from $2.07. Looking ahead, the air carrier expects fourth-quarter fuel costs of $2.30 to $2.35 a gallon, and 2018 RASM to increase 1% to 2%. The stock, which was indicated down about 0.5% in premarket trade, has tacked on 4.4% over the past three months, while the NYSE Arca Airline Index XAL, -4.40% has dropped 11% and the S&P 500 SPX, -3.09% has shed 6.7%.

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