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Shares of Southwest Airlines Co.

jumped 2.6% in premarket trading Thursday, after the air carrier reported third-quarter profit beat expectations and load factor that exceeded pre-pandemic levels, as leisure travel demand remained strong and business travel trends improved. Net income fell to $277 million, or 44 cents a share, from $446 million, or 73 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was 41 cents. Revenue rose 32.9% to $6.22 billion, the same as the FactSet consensus of $6.22 billion. When compared with the same period in pre-pandemic 2019, load factor improved to 85.4% from 83.5%, as traffic rose 2.7% to 34.43 billion revenue passenger miles and capacity declined 0.3% to 39.27 billion available seat miles (ASM). The company said it now expects 2022 ASMs of down approximately 4.5% versus its previous estimate of down approximately 4.0%. The stock has dropped 15.7% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the U.S. Global Jets ETF

has lost 1.2% and the S&P 500

has declined 4.8%.

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