C-Suite Shakeup Boosts UAL Stock

Options players and analysts have been unusually bullish recently

by Lillian Currens

Published on Dec 5, 2019 at 9:20 AM

A spate of leadership transitions has United Airlines Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:UAL) inching higher this morning. The firm announced that its current CEO, Oscar Munoz, would leave his spot to become Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, while current president, Scott Kirby, will transition into the CEO role. It was also announced that Ted Phillip will assume the role of Lead Independent Director of the Board of Directors, with changes to go in effect in May 2020. 

The stock is up 0.9% to trade at $89 in response, just days after the company's announcement to replace its Boeing 757 jets with 50 Airbus long-range jets sent it slicing through its $90 region. The move had UAL looking back up at former support at its 40-day moving average too. For the year, the security is up roughly 6%, with a floor emerging at its 80-day moving average during this past week. 

Optimism prevails among the brokerage bunch, with nine of the 12 analysts in coverage calling United Airlines a "strong buy," with not a single sell to be seen. Plus, the consensus 12-month target price of $110.29 is at a solid 25% premium to last night's close, and represents fresh highs for the equity. 

Options players have been unusually bullish of late. During the past 10 weeks, in fact, 1.91 calls were picked up for every put on the  International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). What's more, this ratio sits higher than all other readings from the past year, suggesting this appetite for bullish bets is unusual. 


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