Can United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) Oscar Munoz Fix a Complex Business?

[Reuters] United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL)(TREND ANALYSIS) Oscar Munoz, the new chief executive at United Continental Holdings Inc, will be expected to persuade investors and employees that he can fix a complex business in an industry in which he has no experience. He’s done it before.

When Munoz, 56, arrived at CSX Corp in 2003, the Jacksonville, Florida-based railroad was struggling. CSX and Norfolk Southern had carved up Conrail, a large rail network in the U.S. Northeast, but CSX failed to consolidate Conrail’s operations and was essentially running two networks, with the worst safety record among the major railroads and the worst operating ratio.

“We were the biggest excuse machine east of the Mississippi,” said one current CSX manager who declined to be quoted by name. The company seemed ready to be “broken up, gobbled up or go bust,” he said.

Stock Performance: Click here for a free comprehensive Trend Analysis Report

United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) stock is currently trading 22.61% below its 52-week-high, 46.15% above its 52-week-low. The 1-year stock price history is in the range of $39.46 – $74.52. United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL) has a price to earnings ratio of 8.36 versus Services sector average of 17.94. UAL stock price has underperformed the S&P 500 by 9.8%. The Airlines company is currently valued at $21.79 billion and its share price closed the last trading session at $57.67. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $56.92 and a 200-day moving average of $59.19.

United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL) current short interest stands at 7.42 million shares. It has decreased by 4% from the same period of last month. Around 2% of the company’s shares, which are float, are short sold. With a 10-days average volume of 17.61 million shares, the number of days required to cover the short positions stand at 0.5 day.

The company is expected to announce next quarter earnings on October 22, at consensus estimate of $3.96. United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL) reported last quarter earnings on July 23. The Airlines company announced earnings per share of $3.31 against a consensus Street estimate of $3.29, beating the average estimate by $0.02. This corresponds to an increase of $0.95 compared to the same quarter of the previous fiscal year.

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There are currently eighteen analysts that cover United Continental Holdings Inc stock. Of those eighteen, fifteen have a Buy rating, three have a Hold rating. On a consensus basis this yields to a Buy rating. The consensus target price stands at $77.35.

A recent analyst activity consisted of Standpoint Research who initiated their coverage on the stock with Buy rating on August 24. Standpoint Research fixed their price target at $70. This corresponds to a 21.38% upside from the last closing price. On the date of report, the stock closed at $52.33.

Imperial Capital reiterated their In-line stance on July 24, and decreased their price target from $75 to $65. This corresponds to a 12.71% upside from the last closing price. On the date of report, the stock closed at $56.49.

Another research firm was Deutsche Bank who upgraded their Hold rating to Buy on July 24. On the date of report, the stock closed at $56.49.

Company profile

United Continental Holdings Inc. is an airline holding company. The Company owns and operates airlines that transports persons, property and mail throughout the United States and abroad.

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