American Airlines shares sink after Q2 profit forecast cut, drags other airlines

By Thomson Reuters May 29, 2024 | 6:05 AM

(Reuters) – Shares of American Airlines slumped on Wednesday after the carrier cut its profit forecast for the current quarter, citing weakening pricing power despite expectations for record travel demand in the summer season.

American Airlines shares were down nearly 8% in premarket trading on Wednesday, dragging peers Delta Air, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines, which all fell between 1.5% and 2.5%.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based company revised its forecast on Tuesday and now expects second-quarter adjusted earnings in the range of $1.00 to $1.15 per share, compared to previous expectations of $1.15 to $1.45 per share.

The carrier has made a strategic shift away from lucrative corporate travel in a bid to grow its market share in smaller markets. However, excess capacity in such markets has been hurting its pricing power.

“It is clearer now (and in short order) that the strategy has not gone as planned,” Jefferies analysts wrote in a note while downgrading the stock to “hold”.

Jefferies had upgraded American earlier this year for its defensive cost control said “thesis drift began” following the analyst day.

The forecast cut comes just after the Memorial Day weekend, considered to be the beginning of the U.S. summer travel season – the most profitable season for airlines

“A significant miss driven in part by close in bookings puts AAL’s ability to reap the full value of a robust summer flying season in greater doubt,” Bernstein analyst David Vernon said in a research note.

Shares of American trade about 4.89 times their forward profit estimates, below the industry multiple of 7.16.

Rival United Airlines, which was also trading down 1.7% before the bell, on Tuesday reaffirmed its second-quarter earnings forecast of $3.75-$4.25 per share.

(Reporting by Pratyush Thakur in Bengaluru; Editing by Tasim Zahid)