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Merrill Lynch Adjusts Major Airlines Earnings Forecast
Merrill Lynch yesterday adjusted first quarter earnings forecasts of the preponderance of U.S. major airlines after February traffic results came in. Excluding American, Merrill Lynch expects first quarter domestic traffic to rise 8%-9%, more than expected. With the effect of American's traffic declines, industry capacity is expected to rise 3%-4%. The firm lowered earnings estimates for US Airways, American and Northwest but raised them for Southwest, Alaska and Continental.