United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL) Rises on Stock Upgrade
Shares of Chicago, Illinois, based United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL) rose on Tuesday, against the backdrop of a slightly lower day in stocks overall. United's stock was up 8.60%, rising $4.04 per share, to close at $50.99, on volume of 12,853,795 shares. The company's stock was upgraded by analysts at Raymond James as a result of the appointment of two well-regarded industry executives to the offices of president and chief financial officer.
Founded in 1968, United Continental Holdings, Inc. is an airline holding company, with wholly-owned subsidiaries including United Airlines, Inc. and United Express.
On Tuesday, United's stock was upgraded from "market perform" to "outperform" by analysts at Raymond James. The company's stock was reportedly upgraded because of the appointment of two industry veterans. On Monday, United announced the appointment of Scott Kirby as President, and Andrew Levy as Chief Financial Officer. It is believed that these appointments should narrow United's margin gap. It was also noted that United's competitive capacity is improving.
The upgrade was accompanied by an increase in the target price of United's stock to $65 per share. The analysts also highlighted the recent growth in the company's share price that has been consistent with the increase in the S&P 500, at 4% each.
United's announcement of Scott Kirby to the position of President of United Airlines came on Monday. The appointment is to take effect immediately, reporting to United's Chief Executive Officer, Oscar Munoz. This is a newly created position in which Kirby will have responsibility for United's operations, marketing, sales, alliances, network planning and revenue management.
Kirby comes to United from American Airlines, where he was President since American merged with US Airways in 2013. He is recognized as an industry veteran, with a progressive track record spanning 30 years. Kirby held previous senior level roles with America West and US Airways, where he also served as President. He began his career working in the technology sector at the Pentagon, after earning degrees from the U.S. Air Force Academy and from George Washington University.
"Scott is a proven leader, whose deep airline experience and expertise will further accelerate our efforts to build the best airline in the industry," said United's Chief Executive Officer, Oscar Munoz. "Scott's appointment, along with other recent leadership announcements, is the culmination of the formation of my senior leadership team. This is just the latest step in our mission to be an agile and innovative industry leader."
The appointment of Andrew Levy to the position of Chief Financial Officer was announced on August 18. He spent more than 13 years in leadership roles at Allegiant Travel Company, a successful ultra-low cost carrier before coming to United. His previous roles included president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer.
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