United Continental Holdings Inc. Fourth Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:UAL) will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, January 26, 2012.

United Continental Holdings, Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet.

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for profit of 18 cents per share, a decline of 59.1% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved down from 45 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate was unchanged. It has since dropped over the last month. For the year, analysts are projecting net income of $3.38 per share, a decline of 21.4% from last year.

Past Earnings Performance: The company missed estimates last quarter after beating forecasts in the prior two. In the third quarter, the company reported profit of $1.97 per share versus a mean estimate of net income of $2.06 per share. In the second quarter, the company beat estimates by 7 cents.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: On average, analysts predict $8.94 billion in revenue this quarter, a rise of 6% from the year ago quarter. Analysts are forecasting total revenue of $37.08 billion for the year, a rise of 9% from last year’s revenue of $34.01 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts are bullish on this stock with 12 analysts rating it as a buy, none rating it as a sell and none rating it as a hold.

A Look Back: In the third quarter, profit rose 68.7% to $653 million ($1.69 a share) from $387 million ($1.75 a share) the year earlier, but fell short analyst expectations. Revenue rose 88.6% to $10.17 billion from $5.39 billion.

Key Stats:

The company has enjoyed double-digit year-over-year percentage revenue growth for the past four quarters. Over that span, the company has averaged growth of 93.3%, with the biggest boost coming in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year when revenue rose more than twofold from the year earlier quarter.

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) and Pinnacle Airlines Corp. (NASDAQ:PNCL).

Stock Price Performance: During November 21, 2011 to January 20, 2012, the stock price had risen $3.14 (19.4%) from $16.19 to $19.33. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between November 23, 2011 and December 7, 2011 when shares rose for 10-straight days, rising 33.2% (+$5.16) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between May 19, 2011 and June 7, 2011 when shares fell for 13-straight days, falling 17.9% (-$4.78) over that span.

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

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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