United's Smooth Takeoff

BW's Gene Marcial talks with analysts who say after airline parent UAL beat earnings forecasts, it could draw private equity interest

United Airlines' parent UAL (UAUA) sprang a surprise in July when it posted second-quarter earnings that handily beat Street forecasts. Another surprise was how the stock has bounced up after UAL emerged from bankruptcy in February, 2006--despite high oil prices, rising competition, and public outcry about the airlines' disruptive flight cancellations and delays. The stock climbed from 21 in February to 49 on July 23, 2007, the day before the market's plunge. Analysts see the stock, now at 44.44, rising to 52-58 on strong revenue growth and continued cost cutting. Another plus that could kick up the stock: private equity interest.

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