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MarketWatch First Take: Airline stocks fall after Delta’s weaker-than-expected guidance

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Airline stocks fell before market open Friday after Delta Air Lines Inc. gave weaker-than-expected guidance for the first quarter.

The carrier’s fourth-quarter results beat analysts’ top and bottom line estimates, but its stock fell 4.4% premarket on weak guidance. Delta
DAL,
-3.54%

forecast first-quarter earnings of 15 cents to 40 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet were looking for earnings of 59 cents a share.

See Now: Delta Air Lines’ Q4 results beat analysts’ top and bottom line estimates, stock falls on weaker-than-expected guidance

American Airlines Group Inc.
AAL,
+1.13%

is down 2.9% before market open, while United Airlines Holding Inc.
UAL,
+0.68%

is down 2.1%. Southwest Airlines Co.’s
LUV,
+0.05%

stock is down 1.7%, JetBlue Airways Corp.
JBLU,
+1.48%

is down 2.3%, and Alaska Air Group Inc.
ALK,
+1.80%

is down 1.3%. Spirit Airlines Inc.’s
SAVE,
+0.49%

stock is down 0.8%. The U.S. Global Jets ETF
JETS,
+0.15%

is down 1.9%.

The airline industry is attempting to recover from the impact of pandemic-era travel restrictions. In a statement released Friday, Delta said that consumer demand remains robust. Strong demand in the fourth quarter drove domestic total passenger revenue 7 percent higher compared with the same quarter in 2019, before the pandemic hit, the company said. International passenger revenue was up 5 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with the fourth quarter of 2019.

See Now: FAA computer outage leads to nearly 10,000 U.S. flights delayed

“Momentum continues in 2023 with strong demand trends, and we expect March quarter adjusted revenue to be 14 to 17 percent higher than 2019 on capacity that is 1 percent lower,” said Delta President Glen Hauenstein, in the statement.

Airline stocks fell earlier this week after a Federal Aviation Authority computer glitch grounded flights across the U.S. for the first time since 9/11, sparking thousands of flight delays.

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