LONDON, June 12 Lufthansa's dim outlook is bringing out the bears as short-sellers set their sights on European airlines that are grappling with increased competition.
** Data from Markit shows that the average short interest across European airline stocks has been slowly moving higher, rising this year to 2.5 percent from around 2 percent.
** This now puts the European airline sector, runaway outperformers over the first quarter, broadly in line with short interest across European STOXX 600 index.
** "The worry for me is that even though the macroeconomic backdrop is improving, the competitive pressure is intensifying," says Edmund Shing, global equity portfolio manager at BCS Asset Management.
** Lufthansa down 1.2 percent, following on from a 14 percent fall on Wednesday.
** Trading volumes in Lufthansa shares come in at 94 percent of the stock's 3-month daily average, above volumes on the benchmark German DAX index which only come in at 16 percent of the DAX's 3-month daily average.
** Air France KLM shares fall 1.3 percent, following on from a 7 percent drop on Wednesday.
** Cantor Fitzgerald analysts cut their price target on Lufthansa's shares to 20 euros from 22 euros, but keep a "buy" rating on the stock, arguing that Lufthansa's "fundamentals" remain sound.