Airline stocks recovered on Tuesday from a battering the previous day after Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) showed a 6 percent increase in per-seat passenger revenue in May compared to last year -- one percentage point lower than it had expected.
Despite the declining cost of fuel and airline traffic numbers remaining in growth territory, nervous investors Monday dumped airline stocks after the disappointing May traffic report.
The variance to recent guidance is due primarily to the impact from competitor fare actions in the second half of the month, Delta said in its report. May's performance is strong when viewed in the context of an exceptional May performance in 2011.
Robert Mann, president of airline industry analysis and consulting firm R.W. Mann & Company Inc., called Monday's share price drop an over-reaction by the market. The six percent growth, while not double digit is certainly positive especially looking at high (passenger) load factors.
US Airways Group Inc. (NYSE: LCC) also released its monthly traffic report showing 6 percent growth in per-seat passenger revenue.
Delta's and US Airways' stock prices were up about 4 percent in Tuesday afternoon trading, but they still had a long way to go to recover Monday's losses. Both companies saw their stock prices shed 11.6 percent on Monday. Other carriers saw their stock prices take a hit.
Monthly reports by United Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: UAL) and Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV) will be released in the coming days.
Delta also announced it has received approval from Mexico's Federal Competition Commission to acquire 30.2 million shares in Aeromexico in a bid to expand into lucrative emerging markets. The annoucement may have helped the company's stock rebound on Tuesday.
The company is seeking to expand into emerging markets to offset declines in Europe. Last week Saudi Arabian Airlines became the first Middle East carrier to join Delta's Star Alliance.