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Why United Airlines Shares Are Flying By 52-Week Highs Wednesday

United Airlines Holdings Inc UAL shares are trading higher Wednesday after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly results and issued strong guidance. Barclays also raised its price target on the stock following the print.

What Happened: United Airlines reported fourth-quarter revenue of $12.4 billion, which beat average analyst estimates of $12.23 billion, according to Benzinga Pro.

The airline reported fourth-quarter earnings of $2.55 per share, which beat estimates of $2.10 per share. 

Compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, the company grew its operating revenue by 14% and its total revenue per available seat mile (TRASM) by 26%. Capacity was down 9% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

United said it was able to recover quickly from irregular operations caused by winter storm Elliott in December. 

“Our dedicated team used our state-of-the-art tools to prepare for the bad weather, take care of our customers and quickly recover once the worst of the weather had passed,” said Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines.

“Over the last three years, United has made critical investments in tools, infrastructure and our people – all of which are essential investments in our future. That’s why we’ve got a big head start, and we’re now poised to accelerate in 2023 as our United Next strategy becomes a reality,” Kirby added.

United said it expects first-quarter adjusted earnings to be in a range of 50 cents to $1 per share versus average estimates of 25 cents per share. Full-year 2023 adjusted earnings are expected to be in a range of $10 to $12 per share versus estimates of $6.54 per share. 

Barclays analyst Marc Solecitto maintained United Airlines with an Equal-Weight rating and raised the price target from $45 to $52.

UAL Price Action: United Airlines shares are up 3.74% at $53.11 at the time of writing, according to Benzinga Pro.

Photo: Dylan T from Flickr.

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