2 Stocks Driving Investing Chatter Before Earnings

Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, January 25, 2012. The average estimate of analysts is for profit of 37 cents per share, a rise of 94.7% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved up from 13 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved up. It has risen from 35 cents during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 22.2% versus last year to $1.33.

The company met estimates last quarter after beating the forecasts in the prior two. In the third quarter, the company reported net income of 91 cents per share versus a mean estimate of profit of 91 cents per share. In the second quarter, the company beat estimates by one cent. Analysts are projecting a rise of 6.7% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $8.31 billion.

Competitors to Watch: AMR Corporation (NYSE:AMR), United Continental Hldgs., Inc. (NYSE:UAL), Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE:ALK), US Airways Group, Inc. (NYSE:LCC), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV), JetBlue Airways Corp. (NASDAQ:JBLU), AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AAI), Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:HA), SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW), and Air France – KLM (AFLYY).

Southern Company (NYSE:SO) will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, January 25, 2012. The average estimate of analysts is for net income of 29 cents per share, a rise of 61.1% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved down from 32 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved down. It also has dropped from 30 cents during the last month. For the year, analysts are projecting profit of $2.56 per share, a rise of 8% from last year.

The company has beaten estimates the last two quarters and is coming off a quarter where it topped the forecasts by 3 cents, reporting net income of $1.07 per share against a mean estimate of profit of $1.04. In the second quarter, the company exceeded forecasts by 7 cents with net income of 71 cents versus a mean estimate of profit of 64 cents. Analysts are projecting a rise of 6.4% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $4.01 billion.

Competitors to Watch: Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR), Progress Energy, Inc. (NYSE:PGN), Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK), SCANA Corporation (NYSE:SCG), NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE), TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE:TE), PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL), Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE:D), American Electric Power Co., Inc. (NYSE:AEP), and FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:FE).