Earlier today, American Airlines parent AMR Corp. reported that third-quarter net rose to $175 million, or 61 cents per share, from its year-ago profit of $15 million, or 6 cents per share. The results last year included a $99 million non-cash charge related to outstanding fuel contracts.

Excluding a $40 million charge related to salary and benefit expenses from last year, AMR earned 74 cents per share, compared to the 73 cent estimate from a poll of analysts by Thomson Financial. Meanwhile, revenue for the period climbed to $5.95 billion from $5.85 billion.

AMR added that it's reviewing strategic alternatives for some of its non-core units. American Airlines is not on the auction block, but one major investor has already prompted the firm to divest its AAdvantage frequent-flier program. While CFO Thomas Horton said that AMR is considering opportunities to deleverage our balance sheet and other strategic options, such as asset divestitures that we might consider to improve shareholder returns, the company seems less than eager to follow through. AMR said there are many potential benefits to retaining its regional carriers like American Eagle, and warned that AAdvantage is deeply intertwined with AMR's core business, making a spin-off of the unit more complicated than it might first appear.

AMR shares closed up 4% at $25.10. The equity surged above its 10-day moving average, but remains capped by its 20-week trendline. Meanwhile, option traders have rarely felt more optimistic about the firm's prospects: Its Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio checks in at 0.74, lower than 83% of other such readings taken during the past year.

Correction: A report posted on October 17, 2007 about AMR Corp.'s third quarter earnings incorrectly stated that the firm's results fell short of analysts' expectations. After factoring in special items, the company's profit was 74 cents per share, beating estimates of 73 cents per share.