Delta Air Lines (DAL) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report released on Monday. The brokerage currently has $54.00 price target on the transportation company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Delta's efforts to reward its shareholders through dividends and buybacks are impressive. Similar to 2018, we expect the company to hike its quarterly dividend in 2019. Delta's employee-friendly approach is an added positive. Moreover, fuel cost is likely to be less of a hindrance in the fourth quarter compared to the other quarters of 2018. Delta expects fuel costs per gallon in the $2.38-$2.43 range, mirroring a 10 cent decrease from the earlier prediction. The positivity surrounding the stock can be gauged from the Zacks Consensus Estimate being revised 3.3% upward over the last 60 days for fourth-quarter earnings. We are, however, disappointed by Delta's decision to trim fourth-quarter 2018 unit revenue view. Detailed results should be available on Jan 15. According to the company, the decision to trim guidance was due to the slower-than-expected improvement in close-in yield in late December.”

A number of other brokerages have also commented on DAL. Susquehanna Bancshares initiated coverage on Delta Air Lines in a research note on Wednesday, November 28th. They issued a positive rating and a $69.00 target price for the company. Bank of America cut their target price on Delta Air Lines from $67.00 to $62.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, October 10th. Imperial Capital restated an outperform rating and issued a $78.00 target price (up from $71.00) on shares of Delta Air Lines in a research note on Thursday, September 27th. Deutsche Bank upgraded Delta Air Lines from a hold rating to a buy rating and upped their target price for the company from $53.00 to $60.00 in a research note on Wednesday, October 17th. Finally, Citigroup initiated coverage on Delta Air Lines in a research note on Wednesday, November 28th. They issued a positive rating and a $69.00 target price for the company. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, fifteen have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $67.22.

DAL opened at $47.50 on Monday. Delta Air Lines has a 1-year low of $45.08 and a 1-year high of $61.32. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.03, a current ratio of 0.35 and a quick ratio of 0.31. The company has a market capitalization of $32.79 billion, a PE ratio of 8.41, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.58 and a beta of 1.13.

Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, January 15th. The transportation company reported $1.30 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.27 by $0.03. Delta Air Lines had a return on equity of 29.43% and a net margin of 8.78%. The company had revenue of $10.74 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.71 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.96 earnings per share. Delta Air Lines’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.0% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, sell-side analysts predict that Delta Air Lines will post 6.47 EPS for the current year.

In related news, Director George N. Mattson acquired 4,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, December 20th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $50.91 per share, for a total transaction of $203,640.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now directly owns 72,530 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,692,502.30. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CEO Edward H. Bastian sold 60,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, December 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.00, for a total value of $3,000,000.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 326,943 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $16,347,150. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.33% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Legacy Financial Advisors Inc. raised its stake in Delta Air Lines by 377.6% during the fourth quarter. Legacy Financial Advisors Inc. now owns 1,323 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $66,000 after acquiring an additional 1,046 shares in the last quarter. Boston Advisors LLC raised its stake in Delta Air Lines by 6.2% during the fourth quarter. Boston Advisors LLC now owns 42,068 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $2,099,000 after acquiring an additional 2,441 shares in the last quarter. Virtu Financial LLC raised its stake in Delta Air Lines by 139.6% during the fourth quarter. Virtu Financial LLC now owns 48,092 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $2,400,000 after acquiring an additional 28,023 shares in the last quarter. Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. raised its stake in Delta Air Lines by 17.9% during the fourth quarter. Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. now owns 3,550 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $177,000 after acquiring an additional 540 shares in the last quarter. Finally, TrimTabs Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in Delta Air Lines during the fourth quarter worth $983,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 87.61% of the company’s stock.

Delta Air Lines Company Profile

Delta Air Lines, Inc provides scheduled air transportation for passengers and cargo in the United States and internationally. The company operates through two segments, Airline and Refinery. Its route network is centered on a system of hubs, international gateways, and airports in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St.

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