United Continental (NYSE:UAL) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Monday.
According to Zacks, “United Continental’s fourth-quarter 2017 earnings (on an adjusted basis) of $1.40 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 6 cents. However, the bottom line declined 21.4% on a year-over-year basis due to higher costs.Operating revenues of $9, 438 million were marginally ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $9,427.9 million. The top line also increased 4.3% on a year-over-year basis. Strong demand for air travel aided the top line. The company also recorded PRASM growth in the quarter. The company expects consolidated PRASM growth in the band of 0% to 2% (year over year) for the first quarter of 2018. Apart from high costs, we are concerned about the capacity overexpansion at United Continental. In fact, shares of the company have underperformed its industry over the past year. “
A number of other research analysts have also commented on UAL. Bank of America increased their price objective on United Continental from $80.00 to $83.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 24th. Imperial Capital reaffirmed an “in-line” rating and issued a $74.00 target price (up previously from $64.00) on shares of United Continental in a report on Thursday, January 11th. Sanford C. Bernstein reaffirmed an “outperform” rating on shares of United Continental in a report on Wednesday, January 24th. ValuEngine lowered United Continental from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Finally, Buckingham Research raised their target price on United Continental from $83.00 to $88.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 24th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $83.47.
United Continental (NYSE:UAL) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, January 23rd. The transportation company reported $1.40 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.95 by $0.45. The business had revenue of $9.44 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.41 billion. United Continental had a return on equity of 23.43% and a net margin of 5.65%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.78 EPS. analysts predict that United Continental will post 7.43 earnings per share for the current year.
United Continental announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback program on Thursday, December 7th that permits the company to repurchase $3.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the transportation company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are generally a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.
Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. California Public Employees Retirement System lifted its position in shares of United Continental by 2.1% during the 3rd quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 722,299 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $43,974,000 after buying an additional 14,899 shares during the period. First Dallas Securities Inc. bought a new position in shares of United Continental during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $504,000. Point72 Asset Management L.P. bought a new position in shares of United Continental during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $28,887,000. FNY Managed Accounts LLC bought a new position in shares of United Continental during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $560,000. Finally, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board lifted its position in shares of United Continental by 78.5% during the 3rd quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 766,432 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $46,660,000 after buying an additional 337,000 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 94.21% of the company’s stock.
About United Continental
United Continental Holdings, Inc (UAL) is a holding company and its principal subsidiary is United Air Lines, Inc (United). The Company transports people and cargo through its mainline operations. It has global air rights in North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. The Company, through United and its regional carriers, operates flights from its hubs at Newark Liberty International Airport (Newark Liberty), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (Chicago O’Hare), Denver International Airport (Denver), George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston Bush), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), A.B.
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