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Delta (DAL) Tops Estimates, CPI In-Line at +0.4%


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

For year and years, investors would look to Alcoa for the unofficial start of earnings season. Now, with the aluminum giant hived off and taken down from the Dow Jones 30, Alcoa reports quarterly earnings within the general population of most publicly-traded companies. Zacks Director of Research Sheraz Mian explains here how Q1 earnings season has actually already begun, though the bulk of earnings reports start in earnest this week.

Which brings us to the first of the major airlines to report this season — Delta Air Lines DAL beat estimates on both top and bottom lines: 96 cents per share topped the Zacks consensus of 90 cents, while revenues of $10.47 billion surpassed the $10.39 billion expected. Top-line growth was up while unit costs were down in the quarter.

Delta is the only major U.S. airline to not carry the beleaguered (and grounded) 737 MAX. So while we see guidance cut by Delta competitors like American AAL, Delta looks healthy going forward as well. The latest crash of the Boeing BA 737 MAX in Ethiopia happened during the back end of Q1, so the extent of relative strength for Delta — or rather, the lack of strength for Delta’s competitors — may yet to be seen.

Shares of DAL are up on the news this morning by more than 2%. The airline has grown 14% year to date, which is slightly below the S&P 500 overall. And the commercial airline remains off all-time highs the company enjoyed late November last year.

CPI In-Line at +0.4%

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for March came in as expected at +0.4%, compared to the unrevised +0.2% reported last time. Stripping out volatile food and energy prices, this number dwindles to +0.1%, lower than the +0.2% expected. Year over year CPI bumped up 10 basis points to 1.9%.

A cursory glance points to price growth most prominently coming from gasoline and Transportation overall. These numbers are subject to wider swings report over report; overall, inflation appears to be around the Fed’s target 2%.

Real Average Earnings for March went to +1.3% year over year, and +1.3% weekly year over year. These reads are cooler than in the last report, which is consistent with slowing wage growth demonstrated by last week’s March non-farm payroll figures.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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