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Delta Air shares close higher on Friday, COVID-19 vaccine now required for new US hires, company says

All new US hires at Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL) will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the company announced last week.

”Any person joining Delta in the future, future employees, we’re going to mandate they be vaccinated before they can sign up with the company,” Delta Air’s Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said in an interview with CNN.

Delta Air shares closed higher for a second consecutive trading session in New York on Friday. It has also been the sharpest single-session gain since November 24th 2020. The stock went up 5.32% ($2.34) to $46.31, after touching an intraday high at $46.44, or a price level not seen since May 10th ($46.75).

Shares of Delta Air Lines Inc have risen 15.17% so far in 2021 compared with an 11.12% gain for the benchmark index, S&P 500 (SPX).

In 2020, Delta Air’s stock went down 31.24%, thus, it underperformed the S&P 500, which registered a 16.26% gain.

Delta’s CEO said that the vaccine requirement was not valid for current employees.

However, Bastian noted that people who were not vaccinated might not be able to work on international flights, especially if there are entry requirements by other countries.

The air carrier said that over 60% of its employees had already been vaccinated.

”We know that vaccines are the best tool we have to protect one another and bring an end to the pandemic,” Delta Air said in a Friday statement.

According to the company, the decision to mandate vaccines for new employees is essential, as ”our business recovers and demand for air travel continues to rise.”

Analyst stock price forecast and recommendation

According to CNN Money, at least 10 out of 21 surveyed investment analysts had rated Delta Air Lines Inc’s stock as “Hold”, while 9 – as “Buy”. The median price target on the stock stands at $54.00.

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