Southwest 4Q Profits Slip on Higher Costs

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    Southwest Airlines
    Southwest Airlines Co. says fourth-quarter earnings fell by nearly half on higher spending for fuel, labor and maintenance.

    Southwest Airlines Co. says fourth-quarter earnings fell by nearly half on higher spending for fuel, labor and maintenance.

    But the airline's revenue is rising because the average fare is almost $8 higher than a year ago.

    Southwest said Thursday that net income was $78 million, or 11 cents per share. That's down from $152 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier.

    Excluding items such as fuel contracts, the profit would have been 9 cents per share, beating the 7-cent forecast among analysts surveyed by FactSet.

    Revenue was up 1.6 percent, but expenses rose 3.1 percent.