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Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) is expected to report last fiscal quarter's results before the opening bell on January 25, 2012. Let's review how Delta Air Lines has performed in recent quarters.

Delta Air Lines, Inc. provides scheduled air transportation for passengers and cargo in the United States and internationally. It operates from airports in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. The company was founded in 1924 and is based in Atlanta, Georgia. DAL trades an average of 8.4 million shares per day.

52 Week High: $12.34
52 Week Low: $6.41
Book Value: $1.44
Float Short: 1.30%

On average, 12 analysts are expecting a drop of $-0.54 in earnings per share compared to last quarter's results of $0.91. A beat of $0.37 per share will top the estimated mean earnings. Analyst estimates range between $0.31 and $0.41 per share.

The P/E ratio has been discounted, as the current trailing twelve months P/E ratio is 8.2, while the forward P/E ratio is now 4.35. An upside earnings report may put a lot of wind in the sails. As much as I am bearish for the industry and wrote in early 2011 to short many of the airlines, I can clearly see Delta has turned over a new leaf. I am not a big fan of of most management teams, and so Delta will have to do more than get off the ground.

The shorter moving averages have finally stabilized and appear to be back towards the sky. Even the all-important 200-day moving average may have bottomed out and the price is trading above the 200-day after a second break above. All very bullish indeed, but airline managements always seem to be a little trigger happy to add new routes and jets and every expense under the sun if they get a few coins in their pockets. If the industry does take off and the majors are able to bank some revenue for a rainy day, they will demonstrate to me they do look at past consequences of their actions and adjusted. Until we see real change we can believe in, I will remain skeptical of management.

Revenue year-over-year has increased to $31.76 billion for 2010 vs. $28.06 billion for 2009. The bottom line has rising earnings year-over-year of $593.00 million for 2010 vs. $-1.24 billion for 2009. The company's earnings before interest and taxes are rising, with an EBIT year-over-year of $2.22 billion for 2010 vs. $-324.00 million for 2009. Rising revenue along with rising earnings is a very good sign, and what we want to see with our companies. Be sure to check the margins to make sure that the bottom line is keeping up with the top line.

Here is a look at the fiscal year revenue:

paid2trade.com revenue gross bar chart for DAL

Gross reported revenue compared to the mean estimate (rounded):

Fiscal Quarter Ending Month-YearRevenue EstimatesActual$ DifferenceDifference %
Sep-11$ 9.73 B$ 9.82 B$ 87.69 M0.9%
Jun-11$ 9.14 B$ 9.15 B$ 10.72 M0.12%
Mar-11$ 7.58 B$ 7.75 B$ 163.16 M2.15%
Dec-10$ 7.72 B$ 7.79 B$ 70.56 M0.91%
Sep-10$ 8.82 B$ 8.95 B$ 125.65 M1.42%

M = millions, B = billions.
Differences are rounded.
Some one-time items are often excluded in reported EPS.


paid2trade.com Quarterly Estimates And Actual EPS results DAL
Reported earnings per share compared to the mean estimate. Differences are rounded.

The total short interest number of shares for DAL:

paid2trade.com short interest tool. The total short interest number of shares for DAL

The number of days to cover short interest based on average daily trading volume for DAL:

paid2trade.com number of days to cover short interest based on average daily trading volume for DAL

US Airways Group, Inc. (LCC) is due to report earnings before the opening bell on January 25, 2012. Below we can see the results of US Airways Group over the last few earnings periods.

US Airways Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides air transportation for passengers and cargo. The company was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona. LCC trades an average of 6.6 million shares per day.

52 Week High: $11.28
52 Week Low: $3.96
Book Value: $0.98
Float Short: 14.49%

On average, 10 analysts are expecting a drop of $-0.53 in earnings per share compared to last quarter's results of $0.51. Investors will be looking to see a number north of $-0.02 per share, based on the earnings estimates. Analyst estimates range between $-0.29 and $0.05 per share.

The P/E ratio has been under pressure, as the current trailing twelve months P/E ratio is 11.6, while the forward P/E ratio is now 3.9. A falling PE ratio may signal a bargain for astute investors, or maybe time to move on. Of the two airlines reporting on this day, Delta appears to be the better, based on the chart.

US Airways, like all the other airlines, suffers from feast or famine brought on by clueless management. One minute they are filing for protection under bankruptcy and the next minute they are adding routes and expenses. "No minutes" are they adding shareholder value over the long term, except in a few isolated cases. There are easier ways to make money in the markets from my seat.

Revenue year-over-year has increased to $11.91 billion for 2010 vs. $10.46 billion for 2009. The bottom line has rising earnings year-over-year of $502.00 million for 2010 vs. $-205.00 million for 2009.The company's earnings before interest and taxes are rising, with an EBIT year-over-year of $781.00 million for 2010 vs. $118.00 million for 2009. Rising revenue along with rising earnings is a very good sign, and what we want to see with our companies. Be sure to check the margins to make sure that the bottom line is keeping up with the top line.

Here is a look at the fiscal year revenue:

paid2trade.com revenue gross bar chart for LCC

Gross reported revenue compared to the mean estimate (rounded):

Fiscal Quarter Ending Month-YearRevenue EstimatesActual$ DifferenceDifference %
Sep-11$ 3.44 B$ 3.44 B$ -3.38 M-0.1%
Jun-11$ 3.41 B$ 3.50 B$ 91.53 M2.68%
Mar-11$ 2.94 B$ 2.96 B$ 17.80 M0.6%
Dec-10$ 2.90 B$ 2.91 B$ 5.17 M0.18%
Sep-10$ 3.18 B$ 3.18 B$ 1.54 M0.05%

M = millions, B = billions.
Differences are rounded.
Some one-time items are often excluded in reported EPS.


paid2trade.com Quarterly Estimates And Actual EPS results LCC
Reported earnings per share compared to the mean estimate. Differences are rounded.

The total short interest number of shares for LCC:

paid2trade.com short interest tool. The total short interest number of shares for LCC

The number of days to cover short interest based on average daily trading volume for LCC:

paid2trade.com number of days to cover short interest based on average daily trading volume for LCC

I use a proprietary blend of technical analysis, financial crowd behavior, and fundamentals in my short-term trades, and while not totally the same in longer swing trades to investments, the concepts used are similar. You may want to use this article as a starting point of your own research with your financial planner. I use Seeking Alpha, Edgar Online, and Yahoo Finance for most of my data. I use the confirmed symbols from earnings.com that I believe to be of the most interest.

Source: Earnings Preview: Delta, US Airways Report Q4 Results Wednesday