United Airlines jumps after results beat ‘dramatically low’ expectations

By Thomson Reuters Apr 17, 2024 | 6:02 AM

(Reuters) – United Airlines shares rose about 5.3% premarket on Wednesday, driven by an upbeat profit forecast for the second quarter and strong first-quarter results despite a $200 million hit over planemaker Boeing’s safety crisis.

The carrier’s forecast signaled strength in travel demand as corporate spending improved, lifting shares of rival Delta Air Lines and American Airlines by about 2% each.

“United delivered Q1 results that cleared dramatically lowered expectations in the wake of the Boeing 737 MAX-9 grounding in January,” Third Bridge analyst Peter McNally said in a note.

United, a prominent customer of Boeing, cut its delivery estimates for new aircraft by 25%, as the planemaker grapples with production and certification delays amid a safety crisis.

Operationally, the rest of the United fleet performed well and pricing held up, partially due to reduced industry capacity, McNally said.

In the current quarter, the carrier expects an adjusted profit in the range of $3.75 to $4.25 per share, compared with analysts’ average expectations of $3.76, according to LSEG data.

“Overall, these results and guide could bring at least some relief to what we would characterize as the oversold situation in United’s shares,” Citi analyst Stephen Trent said in a note, while reiterating a “buy” rating on the company’s stock.

Shares of United trade 4.2 times forward profit estimates, compared with an industry median of 7.4.

The company reported a loss of 15 cents per share in the first quarter, against expectations for a loss of 57 cents.

(Reporting by Shivansh Tiwary in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)