Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday morning.

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. Furthermore, its fleet modernization efforts are praiseworthy. 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. In fact, this was the second time that Delta had trimmed its fourth-quarter unit revenue forecast in a short span of time. Nonetheless, 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.”

Several other research firms have also recently issued reports on DAL. Susquehanna Bancshares started coverage on shares of Delta Air Lines in a research report on Wednesday, November 28th. They issued a positive rating and a $69.00 target price on the stock. Bank of America decreased their target price on shares of Delta Air Lines from $67.00 to $62.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, October 10th. Imperial Capital reissued an outperform rating and issued a $78.00 target price (up from $71.00) on shares of Delta Air Lines in a research report on Thursday, September 27th. Deutsche Bank raised shares of Delta Air Lines from a hold rating to a buy rating and raised their target price for the stock from $53.00 to $60.00 in a research report on Wednesday, October 17th. Finally, Citigroup started coverage on shares of Delta Air Lines in a research report on Wednesday, November 28th. They issued a positive rating and a $69.00 target price on the stock. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, fifteen have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $68.22.

Shares of DAL traded down $0.17 during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $48.56. The company had a trading volume of 6,577,071 shares, compared to its average volume of 9,895,146. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.59, a quick ratio of 0.31 and a current ratio of 0.37. Delta Air Lines has a 1-year low of $45.08 and a 1-year high of $61.32. The stock has a market capitalization of $33.23 billion, a PE ratio of 9.85, a P/E/G ratio of 0.50 and a beta of 1.13.

Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) last released its earnings results on Thursday, October 11th. The transportation company reported $1.80 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.74 by $0.06. Delta Air Lines had a net margin of 7.87% and a return on equity of 27.72%. The business had revenue of $11.95 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $11.96 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.57 earnings per share. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Delta Air Lines will post 5.56 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, Director George N. Mattson acquired 4,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, December 20th. The shares were bought at an average price 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 filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO Edward H. Bastian sold 60,000 shares of Delta Air Lines stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.00, for a total transaction of $3,000,000.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 326,943 shares in the company, valued at approximately $16,347,150. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.33% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in shares of Delta Air Lines by 3.6% during the third quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 36,958,163 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $2,137,290,000 after buying an additional 1,297,215 shares in the last quarter. Primecap Management Co. CA grew its position in shares of Delta Air Lines by 1.2% during the third quarter. Primecap Management Co. CA now owns 28,555,011 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $1,651,336,000 after buying an additional 347,641 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp grew its position in shares of Delta Air Lines by 3.0% during the second quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 6,910,893 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $342,366,000 after buying an additional 199,589 shares in the last quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC grew its position in shares of Delta Air Lines by 1.0% during the third quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 6,867,623 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $397,155,000 after buying an additional 69,137 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Alliancebernstein L.P. grew its position in shares of Delta Air Lines by 5.1% during the third quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 5,515,560 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $318,965,000 after buying an additional 267,454 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 87.59% 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.

Featured Story: Average Daily Trade Volume Explained

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Delta Air Lines (DAL)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL)

Receive News & Ratings for Delta Air Lines Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Delta Air Lines and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.