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Delta Air Lines stock down 5% despite Q3 earnings beat

By Joyanta Acharjee

14:16, 13 October 2021

Delta aircraft lined up
Delta aircraft lined up – Photo: Shutterstock

Shares in Delta Air Lines fell Wednesday as the US carrier cautioned on rising fuel prices despite beating third-quarter earnings estimates.

As at 10:14am EDT (UTC-4) shares were down 5% to $41.37.

For the three months ended 30 September net income fell 19% to $1.21bn (£887m) compared to $1.5bn in 2019.

Comparative period was pre-pandemic

The comparative period was given as 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic creating a substantial negative business impact in 2020.

On a per-share basis, third quarter earnings were 30 cents compared to $2.33 in 2019.

Total operating revenue for the third quarter was $9.15bn, down 27% compared to $12.6bn in the pre-pandemic third quarter of 2019.

Analysts were expecting earnings per share of 15 cents on revenue of $8.38bn, according to FactSet.

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First quarterly profit since pandemic started

“Our September quarter marked an important milestone in our recovery, with our first quarterly profit since the start of the pandemic,” Delta chief executive Ed Bastian said in a press release.

Total passenger revenue was 63% recovered in the quarter compared to the September 2019 quarter on system capacity that was 71% restored compared to 2019 levels

Bastian cautioned investors on near-term profitability due to rising commodities prices.

"While demand continues to improve, the recent rise in fuel prices will pressure our ability to remain profitable for the December quarter,” the Delta chief executive said.

Delta forecast fourth-quarter fuel costs at $2.25 to $2.40 per gallon, compared to an average price per gallon in the 2021 third quarter of $1.97.

Capacity is forecast to be 80% restored.

Read more: Southwest Airlines shares turbulent

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