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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Delta Air Lines (DAL) - Get Delta Air Lines Inc. Report were advancing in late-morning trade on Wednesday as analysts at Imperial Capital initiated coverage of the stock with an "in-line" rating and a $41 price target, according to a note cited by Barron's.

The firm said Delta was the first network airline to recognize the risks in the cyclical airline industry and put into action plans to "de-risk its business, identify financial goals and reward stakeholders."

"We believe Delta is the highest quality airline among the Big 3," which includes competitors United Continental (UAL) and American Airlines (AAL), Imperial said.

However, the firm noted that "caution, at least short term, is prudent" following a number of unexpected macro events over the past few months including the Brexit vote and general deteriorating economic, societal and terrorism issues in Europe.

"As long as investors treat the stock like Rodney Dangerfield ('with no respect'), it is likely to be range bound," Imperial said.

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The firm is projecting that Delta will be the first Big 3 airline to report flat revenue per available seat mile (RASM) in upcoming quarters.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.

TheStreet Ratings rated this stock as a "buy" with a ratings score of B.

The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: DAL

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