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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) - Get JetBlue Airways Corporation Report are higher by 5.37% to $16.10 in mid-morning trading on Thursday, as the airline sector soars today from Southwest Airlines (LUV) - Get Southwest Airlines Co. Report earnings beat. Alaska Airlines (ALK) - Get Alaska Air Group, Inc. Report also reported earnings today and topped analysts' expectations.

For the 2014 fourth quarter Southwest said it earned 59 cents per diluted share compared with 33 cents per diluted share for the year ago quarter. Analysts were expecting earnings of 55 cents for the latest quarter.

Southwest's revenue grew to $4.63 billion from $4.43 billion for the 2013 fourth quarter. Analysts forecast for revenue of $4.59 billion for the most recent quarter.

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Alaska Air said its fourth quarter net earnings excluding special items was 94 cents per share on revenue of $1.31 billion. Analysts were expecting Alaska Air to post earnings of 93 cents per share on revenue of $1.30 billion for the quarter.

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JetBlue is scheduled to report its fourth quarter 2014 earnings results before the market open on January 29.

Recently airline stocks have been getting a jolt from the decline in oil prices, which have been down more than 50% since June. Falling oil prices can mean lower fuel costs.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORP (JBLU) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 64.25% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Turning to the future, naturally, any stock can fall in a major bear market. However, in almost any other environment, the stock should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed nice gains in the past year.
  • JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORP has improved earnings per share by 14.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORP increased its bottom line by earning $0.51 versus $0.39 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.68 versus $0.51).
  • JBLU's revenue growth trails the industry average of 30.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.0%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $183.00 million or 12.26% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -4.36%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: JBLU Ratings Report

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