Low Fliers May Be Poised To Take Off

Look for well-run airlines untouched by merger rumors

While most airlines have been raking in record profits during the economic boom--who among us hasn't been crammed into a middle seat lately?--you wouldn't know it from their stock prices. The one-two punch of rising interest rates and fuel costs, plus fear that an economic slowdown would send the highly leveraged airlines into a nosedive, have left the major carriers trading around six times earnings, their lowest in a decade.

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