Shares of Virgin America Inc. ran up 7.4% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the air carrier beat fourth-quarter profit and sales expectations. For the quarter ended Dec. 31, net earnings fell to $3.9 million, or 16 cents a share, from $14.2 million, or $4.57 a share, in the year-earlier period. Excluding non-recurring items, such as compensation associated with the initial public offering in November and mark-to-market pricing of fuel hedges, adjusted earnings per share were $1.16, above the FactSet consensus analyst estimate of 80 cents. Revenue rose 3.4% to $372.2 million, above analyst forecasts of $371 million. Load factor improved to 81.2% to $78.5%, as traffic increased 2.7% while capacity declined 0.3%. Fuel costs declined 7% to $2.93 a gallon. The stock has declined 7.6% over the past three months through Tuesday's close, while the S&P 500 had gained 2.4%.
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