(Adds comments from sources on CSeries, analyst comment, paragraphs 5-6, 12-13)
By Allison Lampert and Euan Rocha
MONTREAL/TORONTO, April 26 (Reuters) - Canadian plane and train maker Bombardier Inc said on Tuesday it will be moving forward its first-quarter results by a day to Thursday, in a surprise announcement that only served to elevate market expectations of a big CSeries order this week.
The Quebec-based company has seen its stock surge this month on speculation of a major order for its CSeries passenger jets from Delta Air Lines. The Atlanta-based airline is set to host a media event on Thursday.
“With the move in Bombardier’s shares and the further jump in the stock today, if they do not have a Delta order in their back pocket I would not want to be their management team come Thursday,” said Morningstar analyst Chris Higgins.
“It looks like everyone’s expecting it now and them moving the earnings date is also suggestive.”
Two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday that one of Bombardier’s CSeries test planes will be in Atlanta on Thursday.
Both Delta and Bombardier declined to comment on the matter.
Bombardier shares, which have risen 53 percent since April 11, closed at a seven-month high of C$1.99 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
A deal with Delta would be a massive boost for Bombardier as it would be the first major U.S. airline to purchase the CSeries, which is entering service years late and billions of dollars over-budget.
The company is currently seeking a $1 billion cash injection from the Canadian government to help get the program back on track.
A Delta commitment, coupled with a firmed up agreement for 45 CSeries jets with Air Canada, would put Bombardier’s CSeries order book above the 300 mark, allowing the company to hit a psychologically-important internal target by the time the first plane enters service in July 2016.
Bombardier, which is set to hold its annual shareholder meeting on Friday, said it plans to host a conference call to review its results at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT) on Thursday.
In a note to clients on Monday, Desjardins analyst Benoit Poirier said he expects Bombardier to post weaker first quarter results this week, but noted investors are focused elsewhere.
“We believe investors’ main focus will be on the several catalysts that are likely to materialize, including, we believe, a sizeable CSeries order from Delta Air Lines and the firm-up of the Air Canada order,” he said. “Overall, these potential orders could respark momentum in the program.” (Reporting by Euan Rocha and Allison Lampert; editing by James Dalgleish and Chris Reese)