NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Airlines mostly rose Tuesday despite an uptick in the price of oil, as the broader market rose and a government report showed airlines' on-time performance improving. Flights on U.S. airlines were on time more frequently in April than the month before and improved from a year earlier, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Hawaiian Airlines had the best on-time performance, while Comair ¿ a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines Inc. ¿ had the worst. The airlines reporting had a combined average on-time rate of 79.1 percent, compared with 78.4 percent in March. Last April the on-time arrival rate was 77.7 percent. But worries are still mounting across the airline industry about the rising price of oil. Benchmark crude for July delivery rose $1.26 to $69.35 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil briefly crossed the $70 mark last week for the first time since October. And in a note to clients Tuesday, Barclay's Capital analyst Gary Chase said that shares of airline companies are low enough to provide good growth opportunities over the next 12 to 18 months. Chase said stocks of so-called legacy carriers have the most room to grow. His top picks across the group for investors are Delta Air Lines Inc., United Airlines parent UAL Corp., JetBlue Airways Corp. and Allegiant Travel Co., which operates Allegiant Air.
Chase thinks that despite fuel prices chugging higher, airlines should be able to regain some lost revenue as they operate slimmed down fleets. In afternoon trading, Delta gained 16 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $6.88. AMR Corp., parent of American Airlines, added 16 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $4.84. A stock bucking the trend was UAL Corp., which lost 4 cents to $4.61.