Delta loses big: it could be an even bigger warning for other "Reopening Stocks"

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

Diet Coke or OJ?... Delta CEO Ed Bastian will take a double whiskey neat with that earnings report. July to September is usually Delta's peak travel quarter, but instead of swimming in Mykonos you were streaming My Octopus Teacher. Do you want the bad news or good news first, Ed?

  • Bad (terrible): Delta lost $5.4B last quarter, compared to a $1.5B profit for the same quarter last year. It burned through $11B in the last two quarters.
  • Good (better): Delta cut its cash burn to $18M/day last quarter from $27M/day in the previous one. It retired dozens of planes to trim costs.

First to land... While Delta's passenger sales were down 83%, Bastian says there are signs that demand is picking up going into the holidays. Plus, its co-branded Amex card is doing better than competitors, helping offset flight losses. Delta was the first airline to report — and it might go downhill from here:

  • Delta was more profitable than other airlines going into the crisis, so it has avoided involuntary job cuts (so far).
  • American and United are cutting 32K jobs since federal airline aid expired on October 1st.

Reopening stocks fly together... These travel, hospitality, and movie theater stocks benefit disproportionately from murmurings of a return to normalcy. But when one falls, the others usually follow. American and United shares plopped on the Delta earnings. More anti-reopening news bruised other stocks yesterday, too: Carnival, AMC, and Marriott. Like airlines, these companies are hoping stimulus medicine and/or a vaccine will come to the rescue (ASAP).