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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: United Continental, JetBlue, Hawaiian, Ryanair and Alaska Air

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL -October 25, 2018 - Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: United Continental Holdings, Inc.UAL , JetBlue Airways Corp.JBLU , Hawaiian Holdings, Inc.HA , Ryanair Holdings plcRYAAY and Alaska Air Group, Inc.ALK .

Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Airline Stock Roundup: UAL, JBLU, HA & More

The past week witnessed earnings releases from key airline players like United Continental Holdings, Inc., JetBlue Airways Corp. and Hawaiian Holdings, Inc.

While JetBlue and Hawaiian Holdings reported better-than-expected earnings per share, United Continental fell short on the bottom-line front. While surging fuel costs hurt the bottom-line performance of all the above-mentioned US based carriers, impressive passenger revenues driven by the solid demand for air travel bolstered revenues.

Meanwhile, low average air fares (down 3%) apart from high costs resulted in a 7% decline in profit after tax to €1.2 billion at European low-cost carrier Ryanair Holdings plc in the first half of fiscal 2019 (ended Sep 30, 2018). However, a 6% increase in traffic resulted in an 8% rise in revenues in the first six months of fiscal 2019. Moreover, load factor came in at 96%. During the period, the carrier returned €540 million to shareholders through buybacks.

On the non-earnings front, Alaska Air Group, Inc. announced that it will increase its fees for checked bags. The new fee structure will be applicable from Dec 5, 2018.

Recap of the Past Week's Most Important Stories

1. United Continental's third-quarter 2018 earnings (on an adjusted basis) of $3.06 per share fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.09. Operating revenues came in at $11,003 million, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $10,956.4 million. Moreover, the top-line figure was up 11.2% year over year. (Read more: United Continental's Q3 Earnings Miss, Revenues Beat )

United Continental currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

2. JetBlue's third-quarter 2018 earnings per share (excluding 27 cents from non-recurring items) of 43 cents outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny. However, the bottom line decreased 21.8% on a year-over-year basis primarily owing to higher costs. However, total operating revenues of $2,008 million fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,011.9 million. Nevertheless, the top line increased 10.5% from the year-ago figure. Passenger revenues, which accounted for bulk of the top line (96.7%), improved 10.8% in the quarter under review. Other revenues increased 3.5%. (Read more: JetBlue Q3 Earnings Surpass Estimates, Decrease Y/Y )

3. Ryanair Holdings performed miserably in the second quarter of fiscal 2019, reporting lower-than-expected earnings per share and revenues. The carrier's earnings (excluding 18 cents from non-recurring items) of $4.42 per share lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 20 cents. Revenues of $3,207.6 million also fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,217.5 million. However, the top and bottom lines improved 8.5% and 1.8%, respectively, on a year-over-year basis.

The carrier expects airfares to decline around 2% in the second half of fiscal 2019. Profit after tax (excluding Laudamotion) in fiscal 2019 is still projected between €1.10 billion and €1.25 billion. The carrier remains concerned about a Brexit-related impact.

4. Hawaiian Holdings' third-quarter 2018 earnings (excluding 7 cents from non-recurring items) of $1.91 per share outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.73. However, quarterly revenues of $759.1 million fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $763.6 million. Revenues increased 6% on a year-over-year basis, courtesy of the new accounting standards adopted on Jan 1, 2018. Passenger revenues, which accounted for bulk (91.8%) of the top line, increased 4.3%. Balance came from other sources.

Operating revenue per available seat mile in the reported quarter decreased 2% year over year. The metric is projected to be between down 2.5% and up 0.5% year over year in the final quarter of 2018.

Capacity is projected to grow between 4.5% and 6.5% in the fourth quarter. The metric is expected to increase in the band of 5.5-7.5% for 2018. CASM, excluding fuel, is projected between down 2% and up 1% year over year for the fourth quarter. Fuel cost per gallon (economic) is anticipated to be in the band of $2.20-$2.30 in the fourth quarter. The metric is envisioned in the $2.05-$2.15 band for 2018.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss . This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL): Free Stock Analysis Report

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Ryanair Holdings PLC (RYAAY): Free Stock Analysis Report

Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (HA): Free Stock Analysis Report

Alaska Air Group, Inc. (ALK): Free Stock Analysis Report

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Zacks Investment Research

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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