Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Delta Air Lines have struggled so far this year due to multiple headwinds. Consequently, the stock has underperformed its industry on a year-to-date basis. The carrier trimmed its current-quarter views for passenger unit revenue and operating margin earlier in the month. High fuel costs and soft yields have been cited as the reasons for the dull view. Meanwhile, high labor costs have been hurting the company for quite some time and the third quarter is likely to be no different. In fact, the negative sentiment surrounding the stock can be gauged from the fact that the Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-quarter earnings has declined 7.8%, over the last 30 days. We are, however, appreciative of the company's efforts to enhance its shareholders’ wealth through dividends and share buybacks.”

DAL has been the subject of a number of other research reports. ValuEngine raised shares of Delta Air Lines from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a report on Tuesday, June 20th. Vetr raised shares of Delta Air Lines from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating and set a $57.50 price objective for the company in a report on Tuesday, July 25th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Delta Air Lines from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Friday, August 4th. Deutsche Bank AG reissued a buy rating and issued a $62.00 price objective (up previously from $58.00) on shares of Delta Air Lines in a report on Friday, July 14th. Finally, Cowen and Company reissued a buy rating and issued a $60.00 price objective on shares of Delta Air Lines in a report on Tuesday, September 5th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating, fifteen have given a buy rating and two have given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $61.63.

Shares of Delta Air Lines (NYSE DAL) opened at 48.47 on Wednesday. Delta Air Lines has a 12-month low of $37.48 and a 12-month high of $55.75. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $48.31 and a 200 day moving average of $49.10. The company has a market cap of $35.29 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 9.61 and a beta of 1.25.

Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 13th. The transportation company reported $1.64 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.66 by ($0.02). Delta Air Lines had a net margin of 9.30% and a return on equity of 28.33%. The firm had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.81 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.47 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.3% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts predict that Delta Air Lines will post $5.12 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, September 13th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, August 23rd were given a dividend of $0.305 per share. This represents a $1.22 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.52%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, August 21st. This is a boost from Delta Air Lines’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.20. Delta Air Lines’s dividend payout ratio is currently 24.25%.

In other Delta Air Lines news, Director George N. Mattson purchased 6,000 shares of Delta Air Lines stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 24th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $45.44 per share, with a total value of $272,640.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 61,510 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,795,014.40. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, VP Craig M. Meynard sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $55.26, for a total transaction of $276,300.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 7,437 shares in the company, valued at approximately $410,968.62. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have bought 191,000 shares of company stock worth $287,440 and have sold 75,700 shares worth $4,171,150. 0.37% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of DAL. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in shares of Delta Air Lines by 2,951.4% during the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 45,260,856 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $2,080,189,000 after purchasing an additional 43,777,555 shares in the last quarter. Winslow Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in Delta Air Lines by 5,815,030.8% in the first quarter. Winslow Capital Management LLC now owns 4,535,802 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $208,465,000 after acquiring an additional 4,535,724 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its holdings in Delta Air Lines by 85.6% in the first quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 7,039,445 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $323,542,000 after acquiring an additional 3,245,791 shares in the last quarter. Sound Shore Management Inc. CT acquired a new stake in Delta Air Lines in the second quarter valued at approximately $158,224,000. Finally, TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC raised its holdings in Delta Air Lines by 77.6% in the second quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 5,364,934 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $288,312,000 after acquiring an additional 2,343,531 shares in the last quarter. 86.26% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Delta Air Lines Company Profile

Delta Air Lines, Inc provides scheduled air transportation for passengers and cargo throughout the United States and across the world. The Company’s segments include Airline and Refinery. The Company’s route network is centered around a system of hub, international gateway and airports that the Company operates in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St.

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Analyst Recommendations for Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL)

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