Delta's December revenues show surprise jump, airline stocks soar


Airline stocks were flying high today, led by Delta Air Lines (DAL) after it reported better than expected December revenue, as consolidated passenger unit revenue jumped 10% Y/Y driven by continuing strong demand and benefits from the timing of the Thanksgiving holiday; DAL also enjoyed lower than expected fuel costs for the month.

After DAL's announcement, S&P Capital IQ raised its rating on DAL shares to Strong Buy from Buy, lifted its estimates for 2013 and 2014 profits, and hiked its price target to $40 from $30 in the belief that DAL is likely to continue to take in more per-seat revenue than other airlines.

DAL rose 5.5%, just missing a 52-week high, while Southwest (LUV) gained 2.8% and hit 52-week highs.

Also: UAL +5.8%, AAL +4.6%, JBLU +5.2%, HA +7.1%, RJET +6.2%, SAVE +4.2%, ALK +1.8%, SKYW +1.2%.

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