United Continental Holdings (UAL) Stock is Getting a Lift Today on Higher Price Target

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of United Continental Holdings  (UAL) are surging, up 5.5% to $62.55 in late morning trading Thursday, after analysts at JPMorgan Chase lifted airline stocks today on a valuation call, saying the stocks appear to be quite cheap.

The firm raised its price target on shares of United Continental to $95.50 from $74.50.

JPMorgan Chase believes the market is "undervaluing the positive effect that the decline in oil prices will have on the companies' finances."

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Analysts at the firm noted that airlines stocks including United Continental, are cheaper today than at the end of the summer despite the rise domestic fares, trimmed transatlantic capacity, and a decline in fuel costs.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates UNITED CONTINENTAL HLDGS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate UNITED CONTINENTAL HLDGS INC (UAL) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, notable return on equity and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • UNITED CONTINENTAL HLDGS INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, UNITED CONTINENTAL HLDGS INC turned its bottom line around by earning $1.30 versus -$2.32 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.97 versus $1.30).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Airlines industry. The net income increased by 143.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $379.00 million to $924.00 million.
  • UAL's revenue growth trails the industry average of 30.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. When compared to other companies in the Airlines industry and the overall market, UNITED CONTINENTAL HLDGS INC's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 142.19% to $574.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, UNITED CONTINENTAL HLDGS INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -4.12%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: UAL Ratings Report

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