Delta Air’s stock gains, after revenue beats expectations but losses were wider than forecast

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Shares of Delta Air Lines Inc. rose 1.1% in premarket trading Thursday, after the air carrier reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue, boosted by strength in its cargo business, although losses were wider than forecast. The company swung to a loss of $755 million, or $1.19 a share, from net income of $1.10 billion, or $1.71 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, the adjusted per-share loss was $2.53, compared with the FactSet loss consensus of $2.51. Total revenue fell 65% to $3.97 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $3.67 billion, as passenger revenue fell 74% to $2.70 billion to miss expectations of $2.71 billion while cargo revenue rose 10% to $204 million to beat forecasts of $159.8 million. Load factor fell to 42% from 86%, missing the FactSet consensus of 44.4%, as traffic declined 73% while capacity fell 44%. For the March quarter, Delta expects total revenue to be down 60% to 65% from a year ago, while the current FactSet consensus of $4.44 billion implies a 48.3% decline. “Our December quarter results capped the toughest year in Delta’s history,” said Chief Executive Ed Bastian. “While our challenges continue in 2021, I am optimistic this will be a year of recovery and a turning point that results in an even stronger Delta returning to revenue growth, profitability and free cash generation.” The stock has rallied 27.4% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the U.S. Global Jets ETF has run up 27.1% and the S&P 500 has gained 9.2%.
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