Strong Q4 Helps Airline ETF Fly to New Heights

Airline stocks and sector-specific exchange traded fund are flying high after JetBlue Airways (NasdaqGS: JBLU) and Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) reveal strong fourth quarter results.

The U.S. Global Jets ETF (NYSEArca: JETS), the only dedicated airline industry-related ETF on the market, was up 2.0% Thursday, touching a new 52-week high.

Airline stocks were enjoying a tailwind Thursday. Supporting the bounce, JetBlue Airways revealed a 2.9% year-over-year growth in revenue for the fourth quarter.

JetBlue’s management was pleased with the performance after strong earnings over the past two years have allowed the company to dramatically reduce debt and put the airline in a much better financial position going forward, according to Motley Fool.

“We ended 2016 with a debt to adjusted capitalization ratio of 35%, in the middle of our target range of 30% to 40%. Our efforts to de-risk the balance sheet in recent years allows JetBlue to evolve toward a more balanced approach to capital allocation, starting with our $120 million in share repurchases in fourth quarter 2016,” interim CFO Jim Leddy said.

J.P. Morgan also recently upgraded JetBlue shares to overweight.