Delta Stock Eyes Key Technical Level After Earnings

Options traders should be cheering an upside move for DAL

by Karee Venema

Published on Jul 11, 2019 at 9:15 AM

Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) stock is up 1.6% in electronic trading, after the air carrier reported better-than-expected second-quarter adjusted earnings of $2.35 per share on a record $12.5 billion in revenue, in line with the consensus estimate. DAL also said unit revenue rose 3.8%, and raised its full-year profit forecast and quarterly dividend payment.

DAL stock has a history of positive earnings reactions -- closing higher in the subsequent session in seven of the last eight quarters -- and options traders were expecting more of the same this time around. The security's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.69 ranks in the 28th annual percentile, showing short-term traders are more call-heavy than usual.

While calls from the weekly 7/12 options series were popular yesterday, the July 57.50 and 60 calls are home to peak front-month open interest. Data from the major options exchanges confirms buy-to-open activity at the two strikes, meaning options bulls expect Delta stock's upside to continue through the close next Friday, July 19, when the series expires.

Analysts have yet to chime in after Delta's earnings report, though the bulk of them already maintain a bullish position on the airline stock. While nine of 14 covering brokerages call DAL a "buy" or better, the average 12-month price target of $67.39 is a 13.3% premium to last night's close at $59.47.

Since bouncing sharply from its 120-day moving average in early June, Delta Air Lines stock is up almost 16%. This rally has brought the shares up to the round $60 mark -- a ceiling for DAL in recent years. This key level will be in focus once again today, with the equity set to open above here at $60.42.

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