United's Stock Slumps After May Load Factor Declines

By Tomi Kilgore Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Shares of United Continental Holdings Inc. slumped 1.5% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the air carrier reported May load factor declined to 81.6% from 82.5% a year ago, as capacity growth of 3.7% outpaced the 2.6% increase in traffic. The airline, which suffered a public-relations mess after dragging a passenger off an overbooked flight in April, said May "involuntary denied boardings" have declined 79% from a year ago. The company affirmed its outlook for second-quarter passenger unit revenue growth of 1% to 3%, but said the Pacific region is experiencing "incremental weakness" because of unfavorable supply and demand dynamics in China and Hong Kong. United's stock has rallied 15% since the passenger-dragging incident, while the NYSE Arca Airline Index has gained 5.4% and the S&P 500 has tacked on 3.1%.

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