United Airlines (UAL) - Get Free Report shares slumped lower Tuesday after the carrier scrapped its 2020 earnings guidance amid what it called the "heightened uncertainty" it faces from the coronavirus outbreak.
United said it still expects its first quarter earnings to come in between 75 cents and $1.25 per share, as reduced revenue from trans-Pacific routes, many of which have been suspended, are partially offset by lower fuel prices and cost savings, but added that "the range of possible scenarios is too wide to provide earnings guidance" beyond the first three months of the year.
"Due to the heightened uncertainty surrounding this outbreak, its duration, its impact on overall demand for air travel and the possibility the outbreak spreads to other regions, the company is withdrawing all full-year 2020 guidance issued on January 21, 2020," United said in a statement late Monday. Prior guidance had forecast full year earnings in the region of $11 to $13 per share.
United shares were marked 3.8% lower in mid-day trading Tuesday to change hands at $72.53 each. Domestic rivals Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) - Get Free Report shares were marked 3.8% lower at $52.22 each while and American Airline Group AAL fell 5.5% to a six-year low of $24.04 each.
United has suspended all of its China and Hong Kong-bound flights -- normally around 12 each day -- until at least late April amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 80,000 people around the world and killed at least 2,700.
American Airlines extended Hong Kong and China flight bans until at least April 24, while Delta has said it won't fly to either country until at least April 30.