Air Canada shares soar to fiveyear high in heavy trading

TORONTO — Air Canada’s class B shares touched a fresh five-year high in heavy trading Wednesday, extending an upward trend that has seen the airline’s stock value more than triple in the past year. The shares (TSX:AC.B) traded for as much as $5.80 during the session, a level not seen since August 2008 — just weeks before the economy slipped into a deep recession.The shares were up 21 cents at $5.71 in afternoon trading.A year ago, the stock closed at $1.80 on Oct. 30, 2012.Since then, the company has launched Air Canada Rouge, a new discount carrier that began flying in July.Air Canada’s stock, which had already been rising slowly for months, jumped sharply in August when the airline’s second-quarter results beat analyst estimates.For the busier third quarter ended Sept. 30, analysts are estimating that Air Canada had about $3.4-billion of revenue, up about three per cent from $3.3-billion a year earlier.Air Canada is also expected to have $1.03 per share of adjusted earnings, up about 25% from 82 cents in the third quarter of 2012, according to estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters.Air Canada’s class B shares last traded above $5.80 on Aug. 15, 2008, when they opened at $5.88 and closed at $5.83.Even with the recent rally, Air Canada’s shares are worth far less than when the company returned to the public market in November 2006 at $21.Air Canada is scheduled to release its third-quarter results on Nov. 8, before markets open.

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