Shares of airline companies rallied in premarket trade Thursday, after Qatar Airways expressed interest in buying a large stake in American Airline Group Inc. . American said Qatar had interest in buying 10% of its common stock outstanding. Based on American's market capitalization as of Wednesday's close, a 10% stake would be worth about $2.39 billion. American's stock ran up 5.3% in premarket trade. Among other air carriers, shares of United Continental Holdings Inc. rose 1.3%, Delta Air Lines Inc. climbed 1.4%, Southwest Airlines Co. gained 1.9%, JetBlue Airways Corp. advanced 1.2% and Alaska Air Group Inc. tacked on 1.1%. The NYSE Arca Airline Index has gained 3.8% year to date, to close Wednesday 2.5% below the near 16-year high hit on June 7. The S&P 500 has gained 8.8% year to date.
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