Why Delta is Leading Airline Stocks to Flight

Airline stocks are flying high after Delta (NYSE:DAL) says it predicts larger-than-expected 2011 adjusted earnings of $1.1B, vs. $977M consensus. Delta expects “solid” profit growth for 2012 and continued generation of free cash flow thanks to more cuts to seating capacity and increased demand for corporate travel.

Additionally, Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) and US Airways (NYSE:LCC) agree to a deal that involves trading landing slots at East Coast airports. DAL gives LLC $66.5M in cash and 42 pairs of takeoff and landing slots at Washington’s Reagan Airport in exchange for 132 slot pairs at LaGuardia. Regulators required that some slots be sold to other airlines, but the deal should bolster both carriers at their target airports.

Here’s how top airline stocks are trading now:

Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE:DAL): DAL shares recently traded at $8.12, up $0.13, or 1.63%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $6.41 to $13.21. Volume today was 11,801,978 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 12,481,400 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 15.32, while trailing earnings are $0.53 per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

US Airways Group, Inc. (NYSE:LCC): LCC shares recently traded at $5.58, up $0.39, or 7.51%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $3.96 to $11.56. Volume today was 6,452,447 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 6,929,120 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 11.12, while trailing earnings are $0.50 per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

United Continental Holdings (NYSE:UAL): UAL shares recently traded at $19.95, up $0.39, or 1.99%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $15.51 to $27.72. Volume today was 3,284,019 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 6,170,930 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 11.46, while trailing earnings are $1.74 per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ:JBLU): JBLU shares recently traded at $5.14, up $0.22, or 4.47%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $3.40 to $7.13. Volume today was 4,533,101 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 5,319,960 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 21.51, while trailing earnings are $0.24 per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV): LUV shares recently traded at $8.16,. They have traded in a 52-week range of $7.15 to $13.59. Volume today was 4,924,044 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 9,720,140 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 41.63, while trailing earnings are $0.20 per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

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