DELTA LOSES $450 MILLION BET ON FUEL PRICES
The Atlanta-based airline had locked in fuel purchases, in a contract known as a hedge, at levels above the current market value, betting that jet fuel prices prices would climb. And they did indeed rise. But they didn't go nearly as high as Delta had anticipated, which made that hedge a loser. So Delta pulled out of the fuel contracts, which cost the airline nearly half a million dollars.Shares of Delta (DAL) fell 4% in midday trading Tuesday. But it's not all bad news for Delta. Fuel prices are up 60% from their January lows, but they're down 20% from a year ago. So, even with the cost of canceling its fuel contract, Delta will save money on fuel, which is its second largest expense, in the second quarter.Delta took an even bigger hit on hedges last year -- $2.3 billion according to company filings -- as fuel prices fell throughout the year. It lost another $274 million on hedges in the first three months of this year.