DAL Sep 2019 49.000 call

OPR - OPR Delayed Price. Currency in USD
0.00 (0.00%)
As of 12:41PM EDT. Market open.
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Previous Close12.40
Expire Date2019-09-20
Day's Range12.00 - 12.40
Contract RangeN/A
Open InterestN/A
  • GuruFocus.com8 hours ago

    Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL) Sr. EVP & COO W Gilbert West Sold $647,823 of Shares

    Sr. EVP & COO of Delta Air Lines Inc (30-Year Financial, Insider Trades) W Gilbert West (insider trades) sold 10,342 shares of DAL on 07/19/2019 at an average price of $62.64 a share. Continue reading...

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    (Bloomberg) -- U.S. government officials in 2014 revealed an alarming safety issue: Passenger mobile phones and other types of radio signals could pose a crash threat to some models of Boeing 737 and 777 airplanes.More than 1,300 jets registered in the U.S. were equipped with cockpit screens vulnerable to interference from Wi-Fi, mobile phones and even outside frequencies such as weather radar, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which gave airlines until November 2019 to replace the units made by Honeywell International Inc. Honeywell estimates that 70 or fewer planes with cockpit screens in need of repair are still flying.Flight-critical data including airspeed, altitude and navigation could disappear and “result in loss of airplane control at an altitude insufficient for recovery,” the FAA said in its 2014 safety bulletin, known as an airworthiness directive.A Honeywell spokeswoman said there have been no reports of display units blanking in-flight due to high-intensity radio frequency/Wi-Fi interference. Airlines and Honeywell have argued that radio signals were unlikely to cause safety problems during flight. The FAA, however, concluded there were safety risks based on assessments it had received from a vendor and an operator.Boeing Co. found the interference in a laboratory test in 2012 and hasn’t seen similar issues on other aircraft, a company spokesman said. Honeywell is aware of only one case where all six display units in a 737 cockpit went blank, company spokeswoman Nina Krauss said. The cause was a software problem, unrelated to Wi-Fi or cellphones, that has been fixed and is currently being flight-tested, she said.The affected 737s are the so-called Next Generation model, a predecessor of the Boeing Max, which was involved in two crashes in less than five months. Cockpit displays on the Max were made by Rockwell Collins, now a unit of United Technologies Corp., not Honeywell. Boeing’s 777s also were covered by the FAA order.The FAA order didn’t quantify the amount of radio signals needed to cause interference problems. An agency spokesman said Thursday that the FAA bases the compliance time for its airworthiness directives on the risk that a condition poses. “A 60-month compliance time frame means the risk is low, and does not need to be addressed right away,” he said.Still, the radio-signal threat extends beyond that specific display system and FAA warning.Numerous mobile phones left on during any airplane flight “could be a real problem,” said professor Tim Wilson, department chair for electrical, computer, software and systems engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The greater the number of phones emitting radio signals, he said, the greater the potential for interference with a plane’s flight system.Airplane ModeMany airlines now permit passengers to turn their phones to “airplane mode,” which allows Wi-Fi transmissions. But mobile phones operate at higher power levels, Wilson said, since the signals must reach a cell tower and not just a local antenna or router. “So cellular service is potentially more impactful,” he added.The FAA in 2013 began the process of allowing wider use of electronic devices on planes, provided airlines could demonstrate it was safe. That prompted an outcry from consumer groups concerned about passengers being subjected to the mobile phone conversations of seatmates.No U.S. airlines allowed it and, in 2018, Congress barred the use of mobile phones for calls during flights.Honeywell says that 70 or fewer planes with affected display screens require repair. That may leave a lot of screens unaccounted for.A plane generally has six display screens. Back in 2014 Honeywell told the FAA that 10,100 display units -- or the equivalent of nearly 1,700 planes -- were affected worldwide. When asked this week about the progress of the fixes, Honeywell’s Krauss said that 8,000 of those screens were replaced and fewer than 400 components, or the equivalent of about 70 planes, still need to be fixed. That still leaves 1,700 units, or the equivalent of about 280 planes, unaccounted for out of the 2014 figure.Honeywell says its calculation of 70 or fewer assumes that some airlines might have had the work performed at non-Honeywell facilities, and regulators in other regions of the world might not have ordered the units replaced. In addition, some planes might have been taken out of service due to age. The actual number of planes operating with faulty components couldn’t be determined by Bloomberg.Krauss said that “even if a blanking incident were to occur,” the units are backed up by multiple redundancies.Both Delta Air Lines Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. have completed their overhauls, according to the companies. American Airlines Group Inc. has 14 more jets that need refurbished units, and United Airlines still needs to replace components across 17 aircraft, representatives from those companies said.Ryanair Holdings Plc, the large Irish-based discount carrier, told the FAA in 2014 that its planes held 707 of the affected Honeywell units and argued at the time that changing out all of them “is imposing a high, and unnecessary, financial burden on operators.” A Ryanair spokeswoman said the airline hasn’t upgraded all 707 screens but that the carrier inspected all of its display units and “any affected DUs have been replaced.”(Corrects story first published on July 18 to clarify in the second and 13th-15th paragraphs the estimated number of planes still flying with affected display screens; rephrase Honeywell’s comment and clarify the FAA’s conclusions in the fourth paragraph; and provide more details on the cause of a blanking incident in the fifth paragraph. A previous version of the story corrected the headline to say ‘Could’ rather than ‘Are’.)\--With assistance from Thomas Black, Justin Bachman, Christopher Jasper and Jonathan Morgan.To contact the reporter on this story: Anita Sharpe in Atlanta at asharpe6@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Flynn McRoberts at fmcroberts1@bloomberg.net, Elizabeth WassermanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • 3 Large-Cap Stocks to Short
    InvestorPlace4 days ago

    3 Large-Cap Stocks to Short

    At some point the confident and positive game bulls have been playing will end. The good news is the party may just be beginning for well-positioned bears in large-cap stocks Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) offering classic topping patterns that are ready for a more troubled and profitable tomorrow. Let me explain.After hitting record highs out-the-gate in Monday's session, it's been a tough week for the broader averages. And maybe rightfully so. The S&P 500, the market's broadest barometer for large-cap stocks is up roughly 20% in 2019 alone. That's nothing to sneeze at. And let's face it, optimism regarding earnings, an endgame to the trade war and future interest rate cuts can only go so far.The fact of the matter is large-cap stocks are facing historically stretched price multiples following a remarkable bull-run of more than 325% over the last decade. But just because the market's rally may be in its final innings doesn't mean wagering profitably in the stock market isn't possible.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips * 10 Tech Stocks That Are Still Worth Your Time (And Money) Let's now take a look at the price charts of NFLX stock, HD stock and DAL stock and appreciate how a more bearish trend can be an equally friendly and profitable environment for investors taking advantage of today's topping patterns into tomorrow and beyond. Netflix (NFLX) Click to EnlargeNFLX is the first of our large-cap stocks for shorting. As any investor with even a passing interest in the market knows, Netflix's latest quarterly report which featured surprisingly weak subscription data, didn't sit too well with Wall Street. But the worst may be yet to come.While the S&P 500 has enjoyed its astonishing run, NFLX stock is up a staggering 6,300% since the financial crisis in 2009. But rather than just being dismissive of this amazing rally and betting blindly on the notion all trends do eventually end, this large-cap stock is giving bearish investors a technical-based heads up.Netflix's weekly chart shows shares have just confirmed a lower high after Thursday's post-earnings sell-off. The price action was severe enough to also break below key support put together during 2019. It's looking bad to say the least.With this large-cap stock's bearishly-positioned stochastics and Bollinger Bands just opening up from a pinched position, it's time to short NFLX stock. My recommendation is to place a 6% blended technical and dollar-based stop-loss and look to take initial profits around $250 as shares challenge the December lows. Home Depot (HD) Click to EnlargeHome Depot is the next of our large-cap stocks for bearish investors. Home Depot hasn't delivered returns like Netflix over the past decade, but gains of more than 1,330% aren't in need of fixing either.The money shot for bears looking to position HD stock is a widening or inverted triangle topping pattern. We're looking at the monthly price chart of Home Depot as our guide for shorting shares.Honestly, this formation isn't likely to result in a complete deconstruction of the prior trend. Still, with Home Depot shares facing angular resistance and a bearish stochastics setup warning of lower prices, a reversal towards $140 - $150 and test of pattern support and the 38% retracement level looks compelling. * 7 Stocks Top Investors Are Buying Now For this large-cap stock I'd suggest a bit of price confirmation and short HD shares below $208 with a stop-loss above the pattern. That works out to risk of less than 6% compared to profits of around 30% if our forecast proves accurate. Delta (DAL) Click to EnlargeShares of Delta are the last of our three large-cap stocks to short. DAL stock has also been flying high over the past ten years with returns reaching over 1,100%. Over the past couple years those gains have been the result of a bullish-looking channel. I've provided a weekly chart to target a proper short in DAL.With Delta stock in a testing position of pattern resistance and stochastics in overbought territory, the likelihood of a pullback is high. Admittedly, my technical forecast for the airline isn't nearly as gloomy as it is for NFLX or HD, and I suspect Delta's bullish trend will eventually continue. Right here, right now though, DAL stock is on the radar for shorting.My recommendation for shorting this large-cap stock is to wait for a candlestick topping candle to be confirmed. This could happen sometime in the next five days if shares of DAL pass through the low of the current shooting star doji pattern taking shape on the weekly chart.Once positioned I'd suggest a 4% stop-loss. This exits the short slightly above the high of the signal candle. If we're right though and DAL stock is grounded and shares move into the area from $48 - $53, I'd definitely take profits and possibly even consider going long this large-cap stock as a safe, but profitable landing looks likely.Disclosure: Investment accounts under Christopher Tyler's management do not currently own positions in securities mentioned in this article. The information offered is based upon Christopher Tyler's observations and strictly intended for educational purposes only; the use of which is the responsibility of the individual. For additional market insights and related musings, follow Chris on Twitter @Options_CAT and StockTwits. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Tech Stocks That Are Still Worth Your Time (And Money) * 7 Marijuana Stocks With Critical Levels to Watch * 7 of the Best Smart-Beta ETFs to Target Right Now The post 3 Large-Cap Stocks to Short appeared first on InvestorPlace.

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  • AAL Stock Looks Ready To Take Off After Earnings
    InvestorPlace4 days ago

    AAL Stock Looks Ready To Take Off After Earnings

    Shares of American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) have been a big laggard in 2019. Most major stock indices are up strongly since the beginning of the year and trading near all-time highs. AAL stock, however, has basically treaded water and consolidated most of the year. Cheap comparative valuations, solid fundamentals and improving technicals make American Airlines attractive at current levels. Time to book a flight on AAL stock as it readies for lift off.Source: Shutterstock American Airlines will report earnings before the market opens on July 25. Expectations are for $1.77 in EPS on $11.96 billion in revenue. AAL earnings have beaten expectations each of the past four quarters and I look for another beat this quarter as well. The company last week said TRASM (Total RevenueAvailable Seat Mile) for the second quarter would come in at 3-4% growth, higher than the previously expected 1-2% growth. This should bleed through to better earnings for AAL. Click to EnlargeInvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsAAL stock is certainly not expensive on a valuation basis. The TTM P/E is below 8 and near the cheapest levels of the year. This is a major discount fellow competitor United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) which has an EPS approaching 10. A slight multiple expansion for AAL stock to even 9 would provide a significant boost to the shares.American Airlines stock is looking attractive from a technical perspective. Shares are poised for an upside breakout after holding support at the $30 area. AAL stock is back above the all-important 200 day moving average at $33.53. Both momentum and MACD remain positive. After a series of lower highs, American Airlines stock is on the cusp of making a new relative high. Click to EnlargeAmerican Airlines been a huge underperformer to rival Delta Airlines (NYSE:DAL) as seen in the chart. AAL stock is up just 5% year-to-date compared to a hefty 25% gain for DAL stock in the same time period. Expect that divergence to start to converge with American being a relative outperformer to Delta over the coming weeks. * 10 Tech Stocks That Are Still Worth Your Time (And Money) It is getting more and more difficult to find value stocks in the current stock market environment. Investors should consider adding AAL stock to their portfolio on any weakness. An initial price target would be the 2019 highs near the $37 area. The current dividend yield of 1.19% provides an additional income stream as well.As of this writing, Tim Biggam did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Anyone interested in finding out more about option-based strategies or for a free trial of the Delta Desk Research Report can email Tim at timbiggam@gmail.com. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Tech Stocks That Are Still Worth Your Time (And Money) * 7 Marijuana Stocks With Critical Levels to Watch * 7 of the Best Smart-Beta ETFs to Target Right Now The post AAL Stock Looks Ready To Take Off After Earnings appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • Free Profit Opportunity in Southwest Stock
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    Free Profit Opportunity in Southwest Stock

    There was a time when the transports were the hot sector to watch on Wall Street. They served as a great barometer to the whole market. But they have long lost their leadership role except for sporadic stints. Airliner Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) stock tracks the iShares Transportation Average ETF (BATS:IYT) very tightly. And it now sits in the middle of the six-month range.Source: Shutterstock This is important to note because LUV is going to deliver earnings next week. This week United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) stock rallied off its earnings report, so there is definitely an opportunity for LUV stock price to do the same next week.But I am most interested in the support below, and this will become clear at the end.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsThe short-term reactions to earnings are always binary, so this adds a bit of gambling flair to the trade. Even if management gives us the results ahead of time, we cannot guess how investors will react to them. Handling UAL Stock Into EarningsIt's all about managing expectations and we all know how things can go bad like what happened to Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) yesterday. The estimates create uncertainty, because if management misses them, investors sell the news even if the results are actually good in absolute terms. * 10 Tech Stocks That Are Still Worth Your Time (And Money) But it is important to note that this binary effect is temporary. The fundamentals and the technicals will retake the reins of the Southwest stock price once the event headlines abate.Last year, the transports fell 25% into Christmas but has recovered well since then. Like LUV, the IYT also now sits in the middle of the six month range.So what does this mean for LUV stock price at these levels? The bulls are in control and will continue to buy the dips. After all we now know that the Fed cast its safety net back out.So, if I'm long the stock already, then I have no reason to leave it because the fundamentals that got me into LUV have not changed. Airlines have developed a new way of doing business in the U.S. that has almost erased the old stigma of shoddy operations.I am flying today and I can assure you that I paid for many extra fees that didn't exist just a couple years ago. Critics point out that they lack overall pricing power but they are making up for it with additional fees from every angle.This is all to say that the Southwest team is executing on plans well enough to warrant the current valuation.Technically speaking, LUV stock has been setting higher lows while knocking at the $54 per share neckline. It has also bounced off of $48-per-share support zone four times, with the exception of a deeper dip into the Christmas market-wide debacle.So the bulls have the benefit of solid support below while attacking a resistance level. Often times the bears get tired of defending the resistance and the bulls overshoot higher. In this case, the outside target would be $58 per share with resistance at $56.Some investors prefer to hold stocks for the very long term. And for those, the $58 resistance won't matter. For the faster traders, $58 is a target area to exit the trade, or at least book some profit.However, if the bulls are able to break through that resistance then it becomes the next upside opportunity to extend the rally and set new all-time highs. There would obviously be resistance at $64 in that scenario. The Bottom Line on Southwest StockWhile owning shares of LUV is a legitimate trade opportunity, I prefer to use options in my trading. So in this case, since we noted that that there is solid support below, I prefer selling downside puts into what others fear. This way I can create income without any money out of pocket.For example, I can sell the Dec $45 put and collect $1 for it. All I need to profit is for the LUV stock price to stay above that level. Otherwise I own the shares at $45 and break even at $44 per share.Compare this with owning shares now and risking my money with no margin for error. By selling the puts I create a 13% moat around my risk. And I don't even need a rally to win.Nicolas Chahine is the managing director of SellSpreads.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Join his live chat room free here. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Tech Stocks That Are Still Worth Your Time (And Money) * 7 Marijuana Stocks With Critical Levels to Watch * 7 of the Best Smart-Beta ETFs to Target Right Now The post Free Profit Opportunity in Southwest Stock appeared first on InvestorPlace.

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    (Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump is poised to meet with the heads of American Airlines Group Inc., United Airlines Holdings Inc. and Qatar Airways to discuss competition issues amid a long-running feud pitting the U.S. carriers against their Persian Gulf rivals, people familiar with the matter said.Vice President Mike Pence will also attend the meeting Thursday afternoon with American Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker and United’s Oscar Munoz, said the people, including a White House official, who asked not to be named ahead of the private discussions. American, United and Delta Air Lines Inc. have long argued that government subsidies enable Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways to compete unfairly.The White House meeting comes two weeks after Trump hosted the emir of Qatar at the White House. Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker will also attend the Thursday meeting, as will Fred Smith of FedEx Corp., Robin Hayes of JetBlue Airways Corp. and Bill Flynn of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc., a freight and charter company. Those three U.S. companies have opposed American, United and Delta on the subject of the Persian Gulf carriers.The U.S. and Qatar have recently been at odds over whether Qatar Air’s stake in Air Italy is meant to undercut U.S. competitors, despite a previous deal between the nations. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in April that he was “personally engaged on this issue and we are working to make sure that every party to those agreements complies with every element of those agreements.”Delta CEO Ed Bastian isn’t attending the meeting because he’s traveling abroad. The Atlanta-based airline reaffirmed this month that it is considering an investment in Italy’s Alitalia.To contact the reporters on this story: Justin Bachman in Dallas at jbachman2@bloomberg.net;Josh Wingrove in Washington at jwingrove4@bloomberg.net;Jennifer Jacobs in Washington at jjacobs68@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Case at bcase4@bloomberg.net, ;Michael Shepard at mshepard7@bloomberg.net, Tony RobinsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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  • The Amtrak That Works, and the Amtrak That Doesn’t
    Bloomberg5 days ago

    The Amtrak That Works, and the Amtrak That Doesn’t

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- By the time it crossed the Mississippi River at Burlington, Iowa, last week, our California Zephyr was running more than eight hours late on its journey from the San Francisco Bay Area to Chicago. The last meal, a free, off-menu beef stew, had just been served in the dining car. My wife and I opted instead to consume a couple of Maruchan Instant Lunch cups, purchased in the cafe, accompanied by a half bottle of Kendall-Jackson chardonnay, also from the cafe. Occasional wafts of sewage odor tainted the air, the aging Superliner cars creaked and rattled, and the dining- and sleeping-car staff exuded fatigue and resignation. Even the conductor, who had just gotten on at Ottumwa, sounded appropriately defeated when he reaffirmed over the loudspeaker that, yes, every connecting train in Chicago, including the Lakeshore Limited to New York for which we had tickets, would be leaving before our train got there.Things did improve a little once we entered Illinois. My wife got an unexpected email from Amtrak with a PDF ticket attached for the next day’s Lakeshore Limited, in more spacious accommodations than what we had originally booked. The train also started going consistently faster, mostly between 70 and 80 miles an hour, chipping away at our estimated arrival time by a minute here and a minute there until we were forced to sit still outside the Chicago suburb of Naperville to let a Metra commuter train go by. After a lovely day in Chicago (we stayed with friends, but Amtrak would have put us up in a hotel if needed), we boarded the train to New York only to learn that its departure would be delayed two hours to wait on two very late trains arriving via different routes from Los Angeles, the Southwest Chief and Texas Eagle. The conductor sounded irked about this rather than resigned, and over the next 20 hours we made up about a third of the lost time, arriving in Manhattan in the middle of a minor blackout that spared Penn Station but made getting home from there something of an adventure. Isn’t long-distance train travel great!?!Actually, it is. I’m not hankering to get on the California Zephyr again anytime soon, but I’m glad to have had the experience. It offered spectacular scenery, mealtime encounters with interesting people from all over (if you’re in a party of less than four, you’re always seated with strangers), and hour after hour after hour of mostly blissful reading and napping. A few months ago, the New York Times Magazine had a detailed account by journalist/humorist Caity Weaver of a trip from New York to Los Angeles on the Lakeshore Limited and Southwest Chief that captured the vibe quite nicely, so I’ll stop here with the travelogue and start with some numbers.Yes, that’s right: The California Zephyr, with one eastbound train a day and one westbound, lost more money last year than any other service operated by the National Railroad Passenger Corp., aka Amtrak. On a per-passenger-mile basis, it wasn’t so bad (the three-times-a-week Sunset Limited was the worst), but still, the operating losses from the California Zephyr, Southwest Chief and Empire Builder together nearly equaled Amtrak’s total fiscal 2018 operating loss of $170.6 million. Since the start of fiscal 2019 in October, the California Zephyr alone has lost $40.9 million, even as Amtrak’s operating loss has dwindled to $50.9 million and is projected to approach zero for the full fiscal year.This is possible because Amtrak also operates on shorter routes with much more frequent services that carry many more passengers and in some cases even turn big operating profits:These numbers include subsidies from the states, which add up to about 7% of overall operating revenue, with California and Illinois the biggest contributors. They leave out capital expenditures, which are highest for the Northeast Corridor along which the Acela and Northeast Regional trains travel because Amtrak owns most of the track and is thus responsible for its upkeep. The California Zephyr uses track owned and maintained by freight railroads BNSF, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and Union Pacific Corp. But that’s actually a big part of the problem faced by it and other long-distance routes.The 1970 federal law that released private railroads from the obligation to carry passengers and created Amtrak decreed that its trains be given priority over freight. But because Amtrak’s long-distance trains run infrequently on tracks controlled by others and a certain amount of schedule unpredictability is inherent in the distances they travel — and because, Amtrak complains, the freight railroads aren’t obeying the law — they are constantly being delayed by conditions outside their control.The California Zephyr that I traveled on started out about an hour late because of engine problems, kept getting later because of congestion and track work, had to restrict its speed while climbing the Rockies in Colorado because it was hot out, took a seeming eternity to back into and then pull out of Denver’s Union Station, endured more track-repair-related slowdowns amid the waterlogged cornfields of Nebraska, then came to a halt because the conductors and engineer had been on the job for 12 hours straight and another federal law required that they sit tight until a replacement crew came in from Lincoln. On the westward journey two weeks earlier, my wife and son (he and I each flew one way) spent several early-morning hours parked near the Nevada-Utah border after their train pulled onto a siding to let a faster-moving freight train pass, and the freight engine promptly broke down.On track that Amtrak owns or otherwise exercises some control over — or even just uses frequently enough that its comings and goings can be counted upon — these problems are less pronounced. Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor trains were on time at 76.2% of their stops in fiscal 2018 and its other short-haul trains 77.7%. For the long-distance trains, that percentage was only 52.1%, even though they’re subjected to a looser definition of “on time” than shorter routes are.(1)Amtrak, then, is really running two train systems. One provides residents of cities in the Northeast, Midwest and along the West Coast with regional train service that’s not great by Western European or East Asian standards but is useful to lots of people and seems like it could get by on ticket revenue, state subsidies, and some federal help with financing big capital projects such as that much-needed new tunnel under the Hudson River. The other consists of 15 longer routes that have appeal for tourists, residents of some isolated towns and airplane-shunning Amish folk (if riding Amtrak through the Midwest was your only experience of this country, you’d think it was about 10% Amish) but cannot survive without ongoing operating subsidies from Congress. The $1.9 billion that Congress appropriated to Amtrak for fiscal 2019 amounts to only about 0.04% of total federal spending, and one could perhaps argue that subsidies for long-distance rail are worth it in some kind of nation-building or nation-advertising sense. But those subsidies do seem to reduce Washington’s appetite for investments to upgrade Amtrak’s more heavily traveled intercity offerings, which are of far more economic value.Current Amtrak Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson, who once held the same job at Delta Air Lines Inc., has considered this situation and, as the Wall Street Journal’s Ted Mann described a few weeks ago, understandably concluded that the long-distance routes aren’t a priority. Last year, for example, Anderson said that rather than pay to maintain a 219-mile stretch of Southwest Chief track that owner BNSF no longer uses, Amtrak would replace the train with bus service between Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Dodge City, Kansas.The White House has taken a similar stance, arguing in the proposed fiscal-year 2020 budget that:The Long Distance network has not changed from its original iteration 40 years ago. It does not provide efficient services in areas where passenger rail is a competitive form of transportation and inadequately serves low population areas through which they [sic] travel with infrequent and inconvenient service. The Budget proposes that Federal operating support for Long Distance routes would now be provided through the Restoration and Enhancement (R&E) Grant program, not Amtrak's annual grant, and then phased out entirely.Senators from the affected states forced Anderson to back down on his Southwest Chief plan, though, at least through this fiscal year. And President Donald Trump — who seems at best only faintly aware of the things that Office of Management and Budget Director (and acting chief of staff) Mick Mulvaney puts in the annual budget proposals — surely isn’t going to make cutting rural train service a priority in the run-up to the 2020 election, and wouldn’t make any headway on Capitol Hill even if he did. If I’ve read the maps correctly, the 10 money-losing long-distance trains in the table above travel through 36 states, while the 10 most popular routes touch just 14. Amtrak definitely has a future, with ridership up 41% since 2000. But the arithmetic of U.S. Senate representation and Electoral College votes may keep it chained to its past for a while yet.(1) Trips of up to 250 miles are considered on time if they arrive less than 10 minutes beyond the scheduled arrival time; 251-350 miles, 15 minutes; 351-450 miles, 20 minutes; 451-550 miles, 25 minutes; and greater than 550 miles, 30 minutes.To contact the author of this story: Justin Fox at justinfox@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Brooke Sample at bsample1@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Justin Fox is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He was the editorial director of Harvard Business Review and wrote for Time, Fortune and American Banker. He is the author of “The Myth of the Rational Market.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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