Will US Airways Stock Continue To Ascend?

With shares of US Airways (NYSE:LCC) trading around $18, is LCC an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE or STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

US Airways operates and owns passenger and freight airline carriers. Consumers and companies across the nation are now looking to travel at an increasing rate. Since air travel is quicker and is becoming less expensive, it is becoming a common transportation method for many. As costs decrease and flights become more efficient, look for business and retail customers to fly more than ever.

On Wednesday morning, US Airways posted earnings and revenue figures that beat Wall Street’s expectations. The earnings and revenue beat is now generating positive buzz for the company. Also, merger talks between US Airways and American Airlines came under scrutiny because of concerns that certain cities will lose hubs or face cutbacks. The deal will also be investigated for its impact on consumers and competition. Companies and consumers worldwide look to travel at increasing rates since air travel is quicker and is becoming less expensive. As costs decrease and flights become more efficient, US Airways stands to see soaring profits as consumers and businesses look to air travel as a viable option.

T = Technicals on the Stock Chart are Strong

US Airways stock has been steadily rising over the last few years. The stock is now trading near multi-year highs and seems adamant to continue this path. Analyzing the price trend and its strength can be done using key simple moving averages. What are the key moving averages? The 50-day (pink), 100-day (blue), and 200-day (yellow) simple moving averages. As seen in the daily price chart below, US Airways is trading above its rising key averages which signal neutral to bullish price action in the near-term.

LCC

(Source: Thinkorswim)

Taking a look at the implied volatility (red) and implied volatility skew levels of US Airways options may help determine if investors are bullish, neutral, or bearish.

Implied Volatility (IV)

30-Day IV Percentile

90-Day IV Percentile

US Airways Options

42.99%

16%

14%

What does this mean? This means that investors or traders are buying a small amount of call and put options contracts, as compared to the last 30 and 90 trading days.

Put IV Skew

Call IV Skew

August Options

Flat

Average

September Options

Flat

Average

As of today, there is an average demand from call buyers or sellers and low demand by put buyers or high demand by put sellers, all neutral to bullish over the next two months. To summarize, investors are buying a small amount of call and put option contracts and are leaning neutral to bullish over the next two months.

On the next page, let’s take a look at the earnings and revenue growth rates and the conclusion.

E = Earnings Are Increasing Quarter-Over-Quarter

Rising stock prices are often strongly correlated with rising earnings and revenue growth rates. Also, the last four quarterly earnings announcement reactions help gauge investor sentiment on US Airways’s stock. What do the last four quarterly earnings and revenue growth (Y-O-Y) figures for US Airways look like and more importantly, how did the markets like these numbers?

2013 Q2

2013 Q1

2012 Q4

2012 Q3

Earnings Growth (Y-O-Y)

-1.86%

-7.14%

63.41%

202.40%

Revenue Growth (Y-O-Y)

2.96%

3.45%

3.90%

2.82%

Earnings Reaction

2.11%*

5.02%

1.48%

2.31%

US Airways has seen mixed earnings and rising revenue figures over the last four quarters. From these numbers, the markets have been upbeat about US Airways’s recent earnings announcements.

* As of this writing

P = Average Relative Performance Versus Peers and Sector

How has US Airways stock done relative to its peers, Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), United Continental (NYSE:UAL), and sector?

US Airways

Southwest Airlines

Delta Air Lines

United Continental

Sector

Year-to-Date Return

37.70%

35.06%

76.87%

53.17%

42.62%

In a strong sector, US Airways has been an average relative performer, year-to-date.

Conclusion

US Airways is an airline that operates passenger and freight planes. The most recent earnings announcement is generating positive feelings among investors while a proposed merger with American Airlines is still being worked on. The stock has flown higher in recent years and is now trading near highs not seen for years. Over the last four quarters, investors in the company have been upbeat as earnings have been mixed and revenue figures have increased. Relative to its strong peers and sector, US Airways has been an average year-to-date performer. Look for US Airways to continue to OUTPERFORM.

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