United Air shares close lower on Thursday, cancellations rise, bookings drop due to accelerating pandemic, airline says

United Airlines (UAL) said in a Thursday filing that there had been an uptick in flight cancellations and a drop in bookings during the week ended November 18th, because of a recent surge in new coronavirus infections in the United States.

United Air shares closed lower for the sixth time in the past ten trading sessions on NASDAQ on Thursday. The stock went down 0.27% ($0.11) to $40.94, after touching an intraday low at $40.20, or a price level not seen since November 17th ($39.60).

Shares of United Airlines Holdings Inc have retreated 53.52% so far in 2020 compared with a 10.87% gain for the benchmark index, S&P 500 (SPX).

In 2019, United Air’s stock went up 5.21%, thus, it again underperformed the S&P 500, which registered a 28.88% gain.

United Air’s scheduled capacity is now expected to shrink by at least 55% during the fourth quarter compared to the same period a year earlier. Previously, the company had expected a drop of approximately 55% year-on-year.

The air carrier still expects a nearly 67% year-on-year drop in its total revenue during the fourth quarter of 2020.

United Airlines also “continues to expect average daily cash burn during the fourth quarter of 2020 to be approximately $15 million to $20 million, plus $10 million of average debt principal payments and severance payments per day,” it said in a SEC filing.

Analyst stock price forecast and recommendation

According to CNN Money, the 19 analysts, offering 12-month forecasts regarding United Air’s stock price, have a median target of $40.00, with a high estimate of $60.00 and a low estimate of $32.00. The median estimate represents a 2.30% downside compared to the closing price of $40.94 on November 19th.

The same media also reported that at least 13 out of 23 surveyed investment analysts had rated United Air’s stock as “Hold”, while 7 – as “Buy”. On the other hand, 2 analysts had recommended selling the stock.

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