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Delta Air Lines tops estimates in Q3

Delta Air Lines Inc. posted third-quarter adjusted earnings that topped analysts' forecasts on the strength of tax benefits and higher revenues.

Adjusted net income climbed to $1.24 billion in the three months to September from $1.11 billion a year ago. Pretax income slipped to $1.60 billion from $1.70 billion.

Adjusted EPS came in at $1.80 compared with $1.54 a year ago, representing the high end of Delta's guidance. The third-quarter S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus estimate for normalized EPS was $1.74.

Delta attributed the better-than-expected earnings to "revenue momentum, tax reform benefits and a [4%] lower share count."

Adjusted operating revenue increased to $11.85 billion from $10.93 billion a year ago.

"We generated record revenues in the September quarter on strong demand across the business and a favorable yield environment," said Delta President Glen Hauenstein.

The airline reported a $30 million negative impact from Hurricane Florence, in line with its recent warning.

On a GAAP basis, third-quarter net income jumped to $1.31 billion from $1.16 billion a year ago. GAAP operating revenue rose to $11.95 billion from $11.06 billion.

For the December quarter, Delta forecasts EPS of between $1.10 and $1.30. It also projects fuel prices to rise 30%.