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Delta shares soar on September, post-hurricane operating results

NEW YORK, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Airline shares were up overall on Tuesday and Delta Air Lines Inc by as much as 6.62 percent on its monthly traffic results, as the Atlanta-based carrier reported a softer-than-expected impact from powerful and disruptive hurricanes last month.

Delta's shares soared 6.62 percent in afternoon trading after the carrier reported its September operational performance.

In its report, Delta lowered its third quarter operating margin guidance to between 15.5 percent and 16.5 percent, from between 16.5 and 17.5 percent.

Wall Street had been expecting airlines to take a bigger hit from the storms, which disrupted air travel for several weeks, according CFRA Research analyst Jim Corridore.

The deadly hurricanes Irma and Maria resulted in thousands of canceled flights in the United States and the Caribbean, as damaged ports and flooded roads made it difficult and dangerous to attempt flights in some places.

Hurricane Irma negatively affected Delta's results by about $120 million, or about 1 point margin, the company said.

"Absent Deltas estimated storm impact, 3Q (revenue per available seat mile) would have otherwise emerged within the range of its initial quarterly guide," JP Morgan analyst Jamie Baker said in a search note.

Shares of rivals American Airlines and United Airlines were also up, as investors expected similarly minimal impacts to the carriers' financials in the wake of the storms. (Reporting by Alana Wise; editing by Grant McCool)