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JetBlue shares fall after weak 4Q and downgrade

The Associated Press

JetBlue Airways Corp.'s shares sank Wednesday on disappointing fourth-quarter results and an analyst's downgrade.

THE SPARK: The company said Tuesday that its costs rose twice as fast as revenue during the period and Superstorm Sandy blew away some ticket sales.

Jet Blue broke even on a per-share basis and revenue rose 4 percent to $1.19 billion for the period. Analysts polled by FactSet expected profit of 2 cents per share on revenue of $1.20 billion.

THE BIG PICTURE: JetBlue, the nation's sixth-biggest airline by passengers carried, said Hurricane Sandy cost it $45 million in lost revenue as it canceled flights and travel slowed, even after the big East Coast storm passed. The New York-based company said costs rose 8 percent, largely for jet fuel and labor expenses.

JetBlue's average fare during the fourth quarter was $155.17 each way, nearly unchanged from $155.60 a year earlier.

THE ANALYSIS: Raymond James analyst James Parker downgraded JetBlue to "Underperform" from "Market Perform." The analyst said costs are too high and there's a relatively low return on invested capital.

SHARE ACTION: Shares fell 23 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $5.84 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded between $4.06 and $6.42 in the past 52 weeks.