How to buy Delta (DAL) stock

By   |   Verified by Andrew Boyd   |   Updated 6th June 2021

How to buy stocks in DAL
  • Want to own Delta Airlines stock?
  • Learn how to compare broker offerings.
  • Determine what order types suit your trading strategy.

Delta Airlines (NYSE: DAL) is one of America's largest national carriers. The company took a big hit to its stock price, dropping approximately 65%, when the coronavirus pandemic halted air travel in March 2020. DAL stock is expected to provide some excellent trading opportunities in the years ahead due to volatility in the travel sector.

This guide unpacks everything you need to know about trading DAL stock.

Company overview

Founded in March 1925 by Collett E. Woolman, Delta Airlines’ headquarters and primary hub is in Atlanta, GA. Delta pioneered the hub and spoke system used by airlines today, with airplanes bringing passengers to a central hub from which they connect to their final destination. The company has alliances with SkyTeam, and SkyTeam Cargo, allowing them to take passengers and goods around the world.

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Step 1: Pick a broker

If you want to trade DAL stock, you'll need a trading account with an online brokerage firm. There are hundreds of options for your discount brokerage, and we recommend looking for brokers offering you the following services.

No-commission trades

Your broker shouldn't charge you any commission on your trades. If yours does, then consider changing since most brokers shifted to the zero-commission model in 2019 and 2020 after Robinhood captured the hearts, minds, and trading accounts of Gen Z and Millennial retail investors.

Fractional share trading

Most small accounts only give you enough buying power to purchase stocks priced at under $15 per share. If you want to trade mid-caps or large caps, you're going to need to go with fractional share trading, which allows you to buy less than a full share, to reduce your risk and get better returns.

Intuitive trading platform

Your broker provides you with a trading platform for executing your trades. However, after a few months of trading experience, you might find you need more indicators and features on your charts and trading platform. Look for brokers that allow you to link after-market trading platforms like DAS Trader.

Low account fees

Brokers compete with each other for your business by using discount fee schedules on their pricing. Compare the pricing from your broker on transactions, management fees, and inactivity fees.

Margin trading

Most brokers offer two types of trading accounts, cash and margin. With a cash account, you can only trade the balance in your account. Let's say you start with $500. You can only trade $500 worth of stock every three days as you'll have to wait for the clearinghouse to settle your trades.

With a margin account, the broker loans you the money you need to buy more stock. They do this by offering you "margin" on your account balance. With margin, you can leverage your account balance to get more buying power. Many brokers offer you a leverage of up to 6:1 on certain stocks. However, margin trading does not come without inherent risk. If your shares fall in value, you may have to deposit more money, known as maintenance margin, in order to avoid your broker selling your shares to recover their loan.

Real-time data and charts

Your broker will give you charts with your trading platform. However, they won't provide you with a live data feed from the market. As a result, whatever price you see quoted will be delayed by up to 15 minutes. That's not suitable for day trading — where you will need to get in and out of trades quickly — and you'll need to pay an additional fee for a live data feed.

Compare online brokers with Finty. Research fees, broker commission, what assets and markets you can trade, and more.

Step 2: Fund your account

Brokers will accept deposits for trading accounts using debit or credit cards and bank wire transfers. Some brokers won't let you fund your account with a credit card.

The broker might have a delay when setting up your account and funding it for the first time. You'll also expect a delay in your first withdrawal as the broker confirms your identity.

However, subsequent withdrawals and deposits will be much quicker, with transactions typically taking up to 72 hours to reflect in your trading or bank account.

Step 3: Decide what to invest

A good rule for funding your account is only to use funds you can afford to lose. If you put your life savings into your stock account, and you make a bad investment, you're going to be in a worse financial position than you were before. Start small, taking risks you can afford to take.

Step 4: Choose between buying stock or an ETF

After funding your account, open your trading station and get ready to place an order! You have the option of buying a stock outright or purchasing an ETF or exchange-traded fund.

ETFs allow you to spread your risk across several companies held in the ETF. Examples of ETFs that contain DAL stock are the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust and the U.S. Global Jets ETF. These will give you exposure to a larger portfolio of shares so you can diversify your risk.

Step 5: Set up your order

After picking your stock or ETF, it's time to place the order. But first, understand the order types before committing to the transaction.

Market order

The market order is the most common order type. It gets you into DAL stock at the next available price quoted. Unfortunately, the broker may fill you at a higher price. You might want to fill at $100, but the market order buys you the stock at $105 and $110, resulting in several dollars of slippage over your desired price.

Limit order

This order type is suitable for professional day traders. Markets are volatile, and filling at market prices could derail your trading plan. A limit order gets you into DAL stock at the exact price you want. Say you enter a limit order for $105; the order will only fill at that price. However, if the market surges, your order might only partially fill or not fill at all.

Stop limit

This order type sells your DAL stock when the market reaches a higher price target. For instance, the price is currently $100, and you want to sell when it reaches $110.

Stop loss

This order type is a risk management tool. You set it at the lowest price you're willing to see the stock fall to, and when the price action activates the stop loss, the broker takes you out of your position. This order type can prevent your account from taking a catastrophic loss in DAL.

Step 6: Place the order

After selecting your order type, open your trading platform and buy into DAL. Enter the ticker symbol into the relevant box, and you'll see your charts and market data populate with current pricing.

Enter the number of shares you want to buy, and place your limit order price. Click the buy button, and once the broker sends confirmation the trade is done — you're in DAL stock. When you achieve your price target, click the sell button, and the broker gets you out of your position, realizing your profit in your trading account.

Step 7: Track performance

DAL is one of many airline stocks poised for a rebound in sales. We can expect the best volatility in price action around earnings reports.

Other stocks like DAL that you can track to gauge how Delta might perform include airline stocks such as American Airlines (AAL), United Airlines (UAL), and JetBlue Airways (JBLU). Stocks like Carnival (CCL) and Hilton (HLT) might also provide inside into the broader travel sector. Delta operate a mixed fleet with aircraft from Boeing (BA), Airbus, and Embraer.