UAL ends lower after denying rumors

United Airlines' parent denies speculation about bankruptcy after Nasdaq halts trading.

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By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Shares in the parent company of United Airlines fell 11% Monday after being halted on speculation about a bankruptcy filing based on what the company said was a dated news story.

UAL spokeswoman Jean Medina told CNNMoney.com said the bankruptcy rumors were "completely untrue."

The Nasdaq shut trading of the airline stock at 11:06 a.m. ET. The plummet seemed especially dramatic, given that the Nasdaq as a whole gained about 1% in morning trading.

At its lowest point, the stock was down 76% to $3 a share, but bargain buying brought the price up to $8.97 right before the Nasdaq shut trading.

UAL (UAUA, Fortune 500) resumed trading at 12:30 p.m. ET. The stock closed at $10.92, down $1.38, or 11.2%.

United issued a statement that the rumors stemmed from the Florida Sun Sentinel's "irresponsible posting" of a Chicago Tribune story from 2002 - the year that United actually did file for bankruptcy. But in the Sun Sentinel posting, the date was changed, United said.

United, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2006, said it "demanded a retraction from the Sun Sentinel and is launching an investigation."

"United continues to execute its previously announced business plan to successfully navigate through an environment marked by volatile fuel prices and continues to have strong liquidity," United said in a press release.

A statement on the Web site of Tribune Co., parent of the Tribune and Sun-Sentinel: "We have been informed that a 2002 Chicago Tribune news report about United Airlines' financial condition was picked up and circulated on the Internet Monday morning. The story is not current. We are looking into the situation." To top of page

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