Delta Air Lines (DAL) Stock Taking Off in Pre-Market Trading on Share Repurchase, Dividend Hike

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Delta Air Lines (DAL) are higher by 2.47% to $47.24 in pre-market trading on Wednesday morning, after the airline carrier announced its new $5 billion share repurchase program, to be completed no later than December 31, 2017 and raised its quarterly dividend by 50% to 14 cents per share starting in the September 2015 quarter.

The company expects these two plans to return over $6 billion to shareholders through 2017. Delta also says it is on track to complete the remaining $725 million of its previously announced $2 billion share repurchase by June 30.

"Today's announcement marks the next phase of Delta's long-term capital deployment strategy as we near conclusion of our balance sheet transformation and place even greater emphasis on returning our free cash flow to shareholders," Daniel Carp, Delta's chairman said in a statement announcing the plans.

"The expansion of our shareholder return program reflects the Board's confidence in Delta's ability to sustain and improve upon its strong financial performance," Carp added.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates DELTA AIR LINES INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate DELTA AIR LINES INC (DAL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."

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