United Shares Higher After Earnings Beat; CEO Calls Flight 3411 Incident 'humbling'

By Claudia AssisMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

Shares of United Airlines' parent company United Continental Holdings Inc. rose 0.7% late Monday after the company reported first-quarter per-share adjusted earnings above expectations and quarterly sales in line with forecast. United said it earned $96 million, or 31 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $313 million, or 88 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted for one-time items, United earned $129 million, or 41 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $1.23 a share a year ago. Revenue reached $8.4 billion, up 2.7% from the year-ago quarter. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected adjusted earnings of 38 cents a share on sales of $8.38 billion for the quarter. United Airlines has been mired in public-relations fiasco after videos of a passenger on one of its flights being forcibly removed from a plane went viral. "The incident that took place aboard Flight 3411 has been a humbling experience, and I take full responsibility," CEO Oscar Munoz said in the statement. "This will prove to be a watershed moment for our company, and we are more determined than ever to put our customers at the center of everything we do." Shares of United ended the regular trading day up 2.4%.

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