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Delta Air Lines Flies Higher and Fiat Completes Purchase of Chrysler Group

By Daniel Miller – Jan 21, 2014 at 3:00PM

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The Dow is trading lower despite good reports from three companies, while Delta posts strong net income compared to last year.

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

With no major economic data to digest today the market is sorting through the latest earnings seasons reports. Johnson & Johnson, Verizon, and Travelers are pulling the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.06%) 0.42% lower even though Johnson & Johnson reported strong fourth-quarter results and the other companies delivered decent reports. Here are some other companies making headlines today.

Shares of Delta Air Lines (DAL -0.83%) were roughly 3% higher at 3 p.m., after the company posted fourth-quarter earnings per share that more than doubled from $0.28 last year to $0.65. While it may seem like a huge surge in profit, investors would be wise to keep in mind that in fourth-quarter 2012 Superstorm Sandy put a significant dent in profits and Delta also booked losses on its fuel hedges. That said, Delta's EPS of $0.65 still came in ahead of the $0.63 projected by analysts in a Thomson Reuters poll.  

Delta also generated nearly $5 billion of operating cash flow and $2.1 billion of free cash flow last year, which enabled the airline to reduce its adjusted net debt to $9.4 billion at the end of 2013.

"Our December quarter profit caps off a successful year for Delta with strong profitability and margin expansion, industry-leading operations and significant improvements in customer satisfaction. Across the board this was an outstanding year and all credit for these achievements goes to the 78,000 Delta employees worldwide," said Richard Anderson, Delta's chief executive officer, in a press release.

Delta's competitors including United Continental, Southwest Airlines, and Alaska Air Group will report earnings on Thursday.

In other industrial news, Fiat has completed its acquisition of U.S. car maker Chrysler via a $4.35 billion deal. This now makes Chrysler Group a fully owned subsidiary of the Italian automaker. Fiat purchased the remaining 41% stake in the once troubled Detroit company from a retiree health care trust affiliated with the UAW. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has also said he will remain at the helm through at least 2016 and estimates that the two automakers together are the seventh-biggest car manufacturer globally. 

Fool contributor Daniel Miller has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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