Delta Air Lines' Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

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

What: Shares of airline operator Delta Air Lines (NYS: DAL) fell as much as 10% in intraday trading today on heavy volume, making shareholders reach for their air-sickness bags.

So what: The whole airline industry is in arrears today as analysts discussed a potential bankruptcy for sector giant AMR (NYS: AMR) , the parent of American Airlines. The drops lined up roughly in order of financial health, with US Airways (NYS: LCC) and United Continental (NYS: UAL) notching double-digit falls while Southwest Airlines (NYS: LUV) and JetBlue Airways (NAS: JBLU) stayed mostly airborne.

Now what: You know the old joke: The best way to make a small fortune in airlines is to start with a big one. American was the only major operator that didn't file for bankruptcy protection the last time we saw an industry correction, and now everyone worries about another sweeping round of consolidation and bankruptcies. In Delta's case, the company feels strong enough to place a recent $8 billion order with Boeing (NYS: BA) and sports a mildly positive Altman Z-Score. This company should be able to muddle through another crisis.

Interested in more information about Delta Air Lines? Add it to My Watchlist.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Southwest Airlines. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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 is investors writing for investors.

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