Wall Street took a pause on Tuesday morning as major stock indexes stayed close to unchanged after a strong performance yesterday. Just when investors thought that issues on the trade front might finally be improving, the U.S. government turned around and threatened new tariffs on the European Union. As of 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 19 points to 26,736. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) gained 3 points to 2,967, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) picked up 4 points to 8,095.
The month of June was a great one for the stock market, and it also seems to have brought good times to several key companies. Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU) both gave reports on how their businesses performed last month, and the numbers pointed to continued strength in the U.S. economy even as many investors seem prepared to call for an imminent recession.
Delta flies higher
Shares of Delta Air Lines were higher by 2% after the airline giant reported its operating performance for June. The results pointed to strong traffic levels that should bode well for Delta.
Revenue passenger miles for the month were up 6.2% to 22.8 billion. Domestic travel was responsible for a huge portion of that gain, rising 8% from June 2018 levels. Healthy gains in the trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific segments offset slight declines in revenue passenger miles for travel to Latin America.
Delta's capacity also increased, with available seat miles climbing 4% to 25.2 billion. But the slower rate of growth helped boost load factors by nearly 2 percentage points systemwide to 90.4%. Domestically, Delta saw an even bigger increase of almost 3 percentage points, weighing in at 90.9%.
There were a couple of areas in which Delta fell short. On-time performance was down 1.6 percentage points, dropping below 80%. Also, the company transported less cargo, with cargo ton miles falling 13% to 169.1 million.
Nevertheless, Delta said that the 18.9 million customers it transported in June was a monthly record, and the nearly 700,000 passengers it carried on June 21 was a single-day record for the airline. Investors have been pleased to see how well Delta has held up even as the economy slows, and the latest traffic numbers bode well for the company's second-quarter results scheduled for release later this month.
Fiat Chrysler sees its best June in years
Meanwhile, shares of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles were up just a fraction of a percent. The automaker reported U.S. sales figures for June, and the numbers were the best that the company has seen since the mid-2000s.
The automaker's U.S. division said that total sales climbed 2% to more than 206,000 vehicles, which represented its best showing in 14 years. When you only look at retail sales, the roughly 156,600 vehicles that Fiat Chrysler sold marked its highest figure for that metric in 18 years.
Fiat Chrysler pointed to several factors in driving success. Sales of Ram pickups had their highest month of sales since the Ram brand became independent from the Dodge make in 2009, rising 56% to almost 68,100 trucks. That marked the third straight month that Ram pickup sales have topped 60,000. In addition, the new Jeep Gladiator model showed strong early performance after just a month at dealers, and Dodge Charger sales hit their highest level in 12 years.
Going forward, Fiat Chrysler will no longer offer monthly sales figures, instead going to a quarterly look. That'll take away the opportunity for investors to see how the company performs on a more immediate basis, but it will also remove some of the volatility that the monthly numbers introduce for Fiat Chrysler and its automaker peers.