The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: American Airlines, Delta Air, United Continental, JetBlue and Alaska Air

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - March 6, 2018 - announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include American Airlines Group Inc.AAL , Delta Air Lines, Inc.DAL , United Continental Holdings, Inc.UAL , JetBlue Airways CorporationJBLU and Alaska Air Group, Inc.ALK .

Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

Nor'Easter Cripples Airline Operations: What Lies Ahead?

Airline operations have been disrupted severely over the last couple of days due to the deadly nor'easter in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast of United States. Notably, this winter storm has impeded travel plans and caused harassments to passengers. It caused heavy snowfall accompanied by hurricane-force winds in excess of 120 kilometers per hour in the affected areas.

Flight Cancellations at Large Due to the Storm

With the storm disrupting normal life, it is of little wonder that travel plans were thrown haywire as major airline operators had to cancel multiple flights. In fact, the severity of the storm can be realized from the fact that approximately 4000 flights were cancelled in the United States by various carriers like American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines, Inc. and United Continental Holdings, Inc. since Mar 2, 2018.

While Delta and United Continental carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), American Airlines has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

The worst scenario was on Friday with carriers in the United States cancelling 3,423 flights while more than 4,000 were delayed. In fact, operations were disrupted severely at hubs like Boston, New York and Philadelphia.

More Worries Loom Ahead?

Although the winds have weakened, storm-related harassments still linger, thousands of homes in eastern United States are still without power. According to a Reuters report , coastal areas of Maine, MA, among others might still be affected by floods and extreme high tides.

To compensate for the harassment of passengers, who had planned to travel in the affected period, most carriers including American Airlines, Delta and JetBlue Airways Corporation are offering various facilities. For example, they can opt for change of flights without incurring any extra cost.

Some Similar Incidents

Weather-related issues have hurt airlines previously as well. In January 2018, operations at carriers were disrupted by winter storm Grayson. Last year, back-to-back hurricanes (Harvey, Irma and Maria) dented airline operations significantly.

Also, winter storm Stella had crippled airline operations considerably by impeding travel. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew had spelt doom for airlines, causing extensive damage. In fact, such acts of nature hinder the schedules of carriers, thus causing multiple flight cancellations.

Other Factors Hurting Airlines

Apart from the storm-related disruption in operations, airlines have been confronted with a few other challenges.

Of late, the disagreement between legacy carriers - American Airlines and United Continental - pertaining to gate allocation at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been grabbing headlines. Both carriers, having major hubs at Chicago's largest airport, are levelling charges against each other. Unless resolved quickly, this issue might snowball into a major crisis.

Moreover, fears related to capacity overexpansion were re-ignited with January traffic reports of most carriers like Alaska Air Group, Inc., exhibiting a fall in load factor (percentage of seats filled by passengers). The downturn can be attributed to capacity expansion outweighing traffic growth.

We remind investors that shares of United Continental declined significantly in January, even after reporting better-than-expected results in the fourth quarter on issues related to capacity.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss . This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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JetBlue Airways Corporation (JBLU): Free Stock Analysis Report

Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL): Free Stock Analysis Report

United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL): Free Stock Analysis Report

American Airlines Group, Inc. (AAL): Free Stock Analysis Report

Alaska Air Group, Inc. (ALK): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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