NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) are higher by 1.41% to $66.98 in late afternoon trading on Wednesday, as some airline stocks get a boost from the drop in oil prices, which could result in lower fuel costs.
Crude for February delivery is down by 0.43% to $53.89 per barrel on the NYMEX Wednesday afternoon.
Crude oil finished 2014 lower by 46%, MarketWatch reports.
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Prices are being pressured by weak demand and a supply glut caused by the boom in U.S. shale and OPEC's decision not to reduce its output, Reuters reports.
Oil prices were under increased pressure on Wednesday as a survey out of China showed the country's factory industry declined in December, the first time in seven months. Reuters calls this a "bearish indication" of the strength of oil demand from the second largest consumer in the world.
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 some important positives, 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 ($5.04 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 29.8%. 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 -5.49%.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: UAL Ratings Report