Shares of Delta Air Lines Inc. surged 2.4% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the air carrier reported a first-quarter profit that beat expectations. Net earnings for the quarter to March 31 fell to $603 million, or 82 cents a share, from $946 million, or $1.21 a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to 77 cents, above the FactSet consensus of 75 cents. Revenue slipped 1% to $9.15 billion from $9.25 billion, below the FactSet consensus of $9.20 billion. Total passenger revenue declined 1% to $7.69 billion. Traffic increased 0.5% to 47.95 billion revenue passenger miles, while capacity decreased 0.5% to 57.87 billion available seat miles. "March marked the first month of positive passenger unit revenues since November 2015 and we are encouraged by the current fare and demand trends across the network," said President Glen Hauenstein. "We expect June quarter passenger unit revenues to increase one to three percent and remain positive throughout the year." Delta's stock has lost 7.9% year to date through Tuesday, while the NYSE Arca Airline Index has gained 0.6% and the S&P 500 has tacked on 5.1%.
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