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United Continental (UAL) Issues Update on 2019 & 2020 Outlook

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United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL - Free Report) provided an update on the first quarter of 2019, full year and 2020 at the J.P. Morgan Aviation, Transportation and Industrials Conference held yesterday.

For the first quarter, the company now expects passenger unit revenues to be nearly at the mid-point of the guidance of 0-3% increase. Adjusted pre-tax margin for the period is also anticipated at the mid-point of the earlier view of 2.5-4.5%.

For 2019, the carrier reiterates adjusted earnings per share between $10 and $12. Although, the mid-point, which is $11 of the projected range, falls short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $11.45, it is above the year-ago figure of $9.13.

Additionally, for next year, United Continental forecasts adjusted earnings per share in the band of $11-$13. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the same stands at $12.04, above the mid-point $12 of the estimated range.

During fourth-quarter 2018 earnings release, the airline stated that it anticipates capacity expansion between 5% and 6% in the first quarter of 2019 while consolidated average aircraft fuel price per gallon is envisioned between $2 and $2.05. Meanwhile, effective income tax rate for the quarter under consideration is likely to be within 21-23%.

Zacks Rank & Other Key Picks

United Continental carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some other top-ranked stocks in the same space are Azul (AZUL - Free Report) , Air China Ltd. (AIRYY - Free Report) and SkyWest, Inc. (SKYW - Free Report) , each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Shares of Azul and Air China have rallied more than 77% and 19%, respectively, in the past six months. Meanwhile, the SkyWest stock boasts an impressive earnings history, having outshined the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four reported quarters, the average being 16.9%.

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