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Southwest raises September load factor outlook, lowers third-quarter cash burn view

Shares of Southwest Airlines Co. edged up 0.1% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the air carrier updated its financial guidance trends, including and upbeat outlook for load factor and reducing its third-quarter outlook for daily cash burn. The company said August load factor was 42%, in line with previously provided guidance of 40% to 45%. The company lifted its estimate for September load factor to 45% to 50% from 40% to 50% and expects October load factor of 45% to 55%. Operating revenue was down 70% in August, compared with expectations of down 70% to 75%. Southwest affirmed its September outlook for revenue to be down 65% to 70%, and expects October revenue to fall 65% to 75%. The company said August daily cash burn averaged $19 million. Southwest now estimates third-quarter average daily cash burn of $17 million, down from a previous estimate of $20 million, citing improvements in close-in leisure demand and booking trends. The company said the close-in leisure demand trends have so far continued into September. Southwest reiterated its third-quarter capacity outlook for a decrease in the 30% to 35% range, and currently estimates November 2020 capacity to be down 35% to 40%. Southwest's stock has lost 24.8% year to date through Tuesday, while the U.S. Global Jets ETF has dropped 41.6% and the S&P 500 has gained 5.3%.

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