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Citi sees US network airlines P/Es below pre-pandemic levels despite gaining profit share

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** Citi raises Price Targets for Delta Air Lines DAL.N to $65 from $55, for United Airlines UAL.O to $96 from $80, but lowers PT for JetBlue JBLU.O to $6.50 from $6.90

** "In spite of US network airlines' significant earnings share gains against their discount peers, network carrier forward P/Es remain below their pre-pandemic state," - Citi

** Looking at today's valuation vs. 2018-2019 historical averages, consensus 2024E, 2025E P/E ratios of Delta, United, Alaska and American Airlines continue to trail their historical levels, it said

** Citi continues to identify Delta as its preferred US carrier, but with United remaining on the focus list, it added

** 21 of 21 brokerages rate DAL "buy" or higher; 19 of 21 brokerages rate UAL "buy" or higher; 10 of 16 brokerages rate JBLU "hold"

** YTD, DAL up 25%, UAL 22.7%, JBLU down 3.2%

Reporting by Abhinav Parmar in Bengaluru


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