United Continental Holdings Inc Earnings: Profit Streak Snapped by a Loss

United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) reported its results for the fourth quarter. United Continental Holdings Inc. is an airline holding company. The Company owns and operates airlines that transports persons, property and mail throughout the United States and abroad.

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United Continental Holdings Inc Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Fourth Quarter

Results: Loss narrowed to $138 million (loss of 42 cents per diluted share) from $325 million (loss of $1.70 per share) in the same quarter a year earlier.

Revenue: Rose 5.9% to $8.93 billion from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: UAL reported adjusted net income of 30 cents a share. By this measure, it beat the mean analyst estimate of 14 cents per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $8.94 billion.

Quoting Management: “We made significant progress in 2011 building the world’s leading airline, while running a clean, safe and reliable operation,” said Jeff Smisek, UAL’s president and chief executive officer. “I am proud of the results we achieved by working together at the new United, and I look forward to seeing my co-workers share in our success when we distribute more than a quarter billion dollars of profit sharing on Valentine’s Day.”

Key Stats:

Revenue has risen the past four quarters. Revenue increased 88.6% to $10.17 billion in the third quarter. The figure rose 90.1% in the second quarter from the year earlier and climbed 93.4% in the first quarter from the year-ago quarter.

The company’s loss in the latest quarter follows profits in the previous two quarters. The company reported a profit of $653 million in the third quarter and a profit of $538 million in the second quarter.

Looking Forward: Analysts appear increasingly negative about the company’s results for the next quarter. The average estimate for the first quarter of the next fiscal year has moved down from a profit of 6 cents a share to a loss of 18 cents over the last sixty days. The average estimate for the fiscal year is now $3.33 per share, down from $3.71 sixty days ago.

Competitors to Watch: Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL), US Airways Group, Inc. (NYSE:LCC), AMR Corporation (NYSE:AMR), Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE:ALK), JetBlue Airways Corp. (NASDAQ:JBLU), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV), SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW), Republic Airways Hldgs. Inc. (NASDAQ:RJET), Pinnacle Airlines Corp. (NASDAQ:PNCL), and Gulfstream Intl. Group, Inc. (GIGIQ).

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(Company fundamentals provided by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com