United Continental: Flying High

01/28/2015 8:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Leo Fasciocco

Investment Columnist and Publisher, Ticker Tape Digest

Our latest featured breakout stock is part of the strong acting airline sector, which is benefiting from lower oil prices as well as various price increases for flight services, explains Leo Fasciocco, editor of Ticker Tape Digest.

United Continental Holdings (UAL) came public via a reorganization in 2006, trading at $43 a share. During the bear market, the stock fell back to $3.45.

Since then, UAL has been flying higher having soared to a new high near $70; over the past 12 months, the stock has appreciated 42% versus a 10% gain for the S&P 500 index (SPX).

The recent breakout is classic. The stock put down a flat base above its rising 50-day moving average line. The key now will be for a follow through move to the upside.  

The stock's momentum indicator has been bullish for the past three months. The accumulation and distribution line recently shot higher, showing good confirmation of strong underlying buying.

Strong earnings should be the key fundamental drive to carry UAL higher. Analysts expect UAL to check in with an 81% jump in earnings for 2014 to $5.02 a share from $2.78 a year ago.

Analysts have lifted their estimates slightly. We see good chances for an upside earnings surprise. UAL topped the consensus the past four quarters.

Looking to 2015, analysts project an 82% jump in net to $9.14 a share from the anticipated $5.02 last year.

The stock sells with a price-earnings ratio of just 7, based on projected 2015 net. That makes the stock attractive for value investors. We are targeting a move to $84. A protective stop can be placed at $64.

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