Lufthansa's profit warning is followed by a decline in high-flying US airline stocks

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Shares of U.S. airlines have been flying high in 2014, but they’re lower after German carrier Lufthansa’s warning about smaller profits due to weaker passenger demand.

At midday Wednesday, shares of American Airlines Group Inc. were down $1, or 2.3 per cent, to $42.66; United Continental Holdings Inc. fell $2.04, or 4.3 per cent, to $45.72; Delta Air Lines Inc. dropped $1.47, or 3.5 per cent, to $40.45; and Southwest Airlines Co. lost 27 cents to $27.02.

Lufthansa AG cut its forecast of 2014 and 2015 operating profit on weaker demand, strikes, and lower value of Venezuela’s currency. Its shares were down 14 per cent.

Cowen and Co. analyst Helane Becker says the warning is more about Lufthansa’s prospects than the airline industry, and she says the sell-off could be an opportunity for buyers.