Update: Wrong on Airlines?
By Donna Rosato

(MONEY Magazine) – At the start of this year, we thought we saw a chance to buy airlines on weakness. Well, they got weaker. Lucrative business fliers are hitting the skies again, and this summer is expected to be the busiest for airlines since before Sept. 11. But stocks of the carriers we recommended--America West (AWA) and Northwest Airlines (NWAC)--are down more than 20% this year. What happened? Oil prices hit 13-year highs in May, sending jet-fuel prices soaring.

Rising oil prices are going to remain a big risk for airlines in the coming months. But profits are still on the horizon for 2005 as long as the economy continues its rebound. Northwest, which has a strong Asia-Pacific network, will particularly benefit from an uptick in international travel. America West, which has transformed itself into a low-cost airline, posted a profit for the first time in three years in 2003 and is still growing.

When will any of this show up in stock prices? It will be tough to time. "If there's any sign that oil prices back off, that would have a dramatic impact on airline stocks," says Jim Corridore, S&P airline equity analyst. For investors who can stomach the risk, there's value here. --DONNA ROSATO