Bear Stearns Ups AMR and Airline Industry Sector Ratings

Says new non-labor cost initiatives improve the industry's outlook

Bear Stearns raised its investment recommendation on the airline industry to market weight and on American Airlines' parent AMR(AMR ) to outperform, citing factors such as new non-labor cost initiatives.

Analyst David Strine also cited the brightening outlook for revenue per available seat mile (RASM) and the start of a debate in the airline's pilot union about work rules. He says that even with the ultimate need for balance sheet repair, he thinks the 2006 outlook for AMR stock has improved. He set a $19 year-end 2006 price target. For the airline sector, he sees 2006 domestic revenue, or RASM, growth of 6%, the best in five years, fueled by the most attractive capacity-to-gross domestic product growth ratio since 1994.

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