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United Parcel shares close higher on Thursday, company expects record-high returned packages after 2019 holiday season

United Parcel Service Inc (UPS) said on Thursday that returned packages might reach a record high after this year’s holiday shipping season, because on-line customer shopping was more active.

About 1.9 million returns are expected to be processed on January 2nd, the company said, or 26% more compared to a year ago.

United Parcel shares closed higher for the seventh time in the past ten trading sessions in New York on Thursday. The stock went up 0.60% ($0.71) to $119.04, after touching an intraday high at $119.20, or a price level not seen since December 23rd ($119.42).

Shares of United Parcel Service Inc have risen 22.05% so far in 2019 compared with a 29.24% gain for the benchmark index, S&P 500 (SPX).

In 2018, United Parcel’s stock went down 18.15%, thus, it again underperformed the S&P 500, which registered a 6.24% loss.

“This process is a change from years past, when consumers would rush to physical retailers the day after Christmas and stand in long lines to make returns,” the package delivery company said in a statement, cited by Reuters.

According to a report by Mastercard Inc, on-line sales went up 18.8% during the period between November 1st through Christmas Eve compared to the same period a year earlier. E-commerce sales accounted for 14.6% of total retail sales, the report also showed.

Analyst stock price forecast and recommendation

According to CNN Money, the 22 analysts, offering 12-month forecasts regarding United Parcel’s stock price, have a median target of $129.00, with a high estimate of $144.00 and a low estimate of $78.00. The median estimate represents an 8.37% upside compared to the closing price of $119.04 on December 26th.

The same media also reported that at least 15 out of 27 surveyed investment analysts had rated United Parcel’s stock as “Hold”, while 9 – as “Buy”. On the other hand, 1 analyst had recommended selling the stock.

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