United Airlines: What to Expect Ahead of Q4 Earnings?

United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) will publish its fourth-quarter 2021 earnings results on January 19.

In Q3, the firm posted an adjusted loss of $1.02 per share, lower than the Street’s forecast of $1.29 per share. Operating revenue of $7.75 billion also fell short of the $7.85 billion expected by experts.

Given that the nationwide rise in Omicron cases in the last week of December had a direct influence on all airline stocks, let’s take a look at how United Airlines is faring for the fourth quarter.

Q4 Expectations

According to analysts, United Airlines is expected to report an adjusted loss of $2.06 per share.

Notably, the corporation has experienced significant headwinds towards the close of the fourth quarter. Hundreds of flights have been canceled since December 24 due to an upsurge in coronavirus infections, as well as extreme weather in numerous parts of the United States.

These repeated flight interruptions throughout the Christmas and New Year holidays will have impacted the company’s bottom-line to some extent.

As a result, even though United Airlines has produced better-than-expected profitability for the last two quarters, it’s unlikely that the company will be able to do so again in Q4.

Metrics Depict Caution Ahead

According to TipRanks’ Stock Investors tool, investors have a gloomy view of United Airlines shares. Per the tool, 5.4% of the investors holding portfolios on TipRanks have reduced their stake in United Airlines stock in the last 30 days. Furthermore, 0.5% of these individuals have reduced their holdings in the last week.

Furthermore, TipRanks’ Hedge Fund Trading Activity tool shows that hedge funds have a Very Negative outlook on UAL stock. Per the data, hedge funds sold 3.0M United Airlines shares in the last quarter.

Wall Street’s Take

On TipRanks, United Airlines stock commands a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 6 Buys, 2 Holds, and 1 Sell. As for price targets, the average UAL stock price forecast of $61.11 implies almost 27% upside potential from the current levels.

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