Struggling Airline Stock Gears Up for Earnings

The stock has taken a 17% haircut in the last nine months

Assistant Editor
Jan 10, 2022 at 1:50 PM
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Travel concern Delta Air Lines, Inc (NYSE:DAL) is getting ready to report fourth-quarter earnings, which are due out before the open on Thursday, Jan. 13. In the past, DAL has tended towards negative returns the day after its quarterly report, including three-straight post-earnings dips in April, July, and October 2021. During its last eight next-day sessions, the security averaged a move of 3%, regardless of direction. This time around, the options pits are pricing in a bigger swing of 6%. 

At last glance, Delta stock is down 2.1% to trade at $40.63 and pacing for its third loss in four sessions. Though the equity managed to buck some of the Covid-19 omicron variant fears that plagued the airline sector toward the end of 2021, it's still taken a 17% haircut over the last nine months. More recently, the $42 area and the 180-day moving average have been keeping a lid on DAL's attempts to move higher.

DAL Chart Jan 10

Options traders are overwhelmingly pessimistic on the airline name at the moment. At the the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), Delta stock's 10-day put/call ratio stands higher than 100% of readings from the past year. This means that long puts are getting picked up at their quickest pace in a year. 

Shorts are building their positions, too, with short interest up 11.5% over the last month. The 22.09 million shares sold short account for 3.5% of the stock's available float, and would take just over a day-and-a-half to cover at the equity's average daily pace of  trading.

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