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MarketWatch First Take: Airline stocks rise on Delta’s strong 3Q revenue as carrier touts continuing travel recovery


Airline stocks rose in premarket trading on Thursday after Delta Air Lines reported third-quarter revenue significantly above the same period in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

Delta Air Lines Inc.’s

revenue of $13.98 billion was up from $12.56 billion in 2019. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had projected revenue of $12.9 billion. “The travel recovery continues as consumer spend shifts to experiences and demand improves in corporate and international,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO, in a statement.

The air carrier’s net income of $695 million, or $1.08 a share, was down from $1.5 billion, or $2.31 a share, in the same period in 2019. For the fourth quarter, Delta expects revenue up 5% to 9% from 2019. FactSet consensus of $11.75 billion implies 0.3% growth. The carrier expects fourth-quarter earnings of $1.00 to $1.25 a share, compared with FactSet’s consensus of 79 cents a share.

See Now: Delta stock jumps after 3Q revenue rises above 2019 levels

Shares of Delta rose 4.4% before market open, while United Airlines Holdings Inc.

rose 2.95%. American Airlines Group Inc.
which raised its third-quarter revenue outlook earlier this week, rose 2.44%, while JetBlue Airways Corp.

was up 2.63%.

In a note released earlier this week Cowen analyst Helane Becker said that American Airlines’ better-than expected outlook bodes well for Delta and United.

Delta’s shares have fallen 1.88% over the last three months, compared with the S&P 500 Index’s 

decline of 5.91% and the U.S Global Jets

ETF’s slump of 8.15%.

See Now: American Airlines’ positive surprise bodes well for Delta and United, says Cowen analyst

Of 20 analysts surveyed by FactSet, 17 have an overweight or buy rating, and three have a hold rating on Delta.

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