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Delta Beats Fuel Forecast and Airline Stocks Rise

Jan 03, 2014 4:30 pm

Skift Take

Of Delta, American, United and Southwest, Delta is the only one to have its merger, in this case with Northwest, in the rearview mirror. Delta’s unit revenue is laudable, and it owns a refinery, which so far is working out nicely.

— Dennis Schaal

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Airline stocks rose Friday, led higher by Delta Air Lines after it reported better-than-expected December revenue.

Delta also said its fuel price for the month was cheaper than it had forecast, by 3 cents per gallon.

After the announcement by Delta, S&P Capital IQ raised its rating on Delta to “Strong Buy” from “Buy,” raised its estimates for 2013 and 2014 profits, and raised its price target for Delta to $40, from $30. Analyst Jim Corridore wrote that he thinks Delta is likely to continue to be able to take in more per-seat revenue than other airlines.

In afternoon trading, Delta Air Lines Inc. was up $1.45, or 5.5 percent, to $29.15.

United Continental Holdings Inc. rose $1.93, or 4.8 percent, to $39.66. American Airlines Group Inc., which now also includes US Airways, rose $1.24, or 4.9 percent, to $26.60. Southwest Airlines Co. rose 43 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $19.31.

Smaller airlines were also higher. JetBlue Airways Corp. rose 45 cents, or 5.3 percent, to $9.06, and Alaska Air Group Inc. rose $1.56, or 2.2 percent, to $74.74. Spirit Airlines Inc. was up $1.59, or 3.2 percent, to $47.24.

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