United Continental (NASDAQ:UAL) and China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. ADR Class H (NYSE:CEA) are both transportation companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, profitability, institutional ownership, dividends, earnings, analyst recommendations and valuation.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

98.1% of United Continental shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 0.1% of China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. ADR Class H shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.4% of United Continental shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares United Continental and China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. ADR Class H’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
United Continental $41.30 billion 0.56 $2.13 billion $9.13 9.86
China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. ADR Class H $16.73 billion 0.44 $407.67 million $1.38 18.38

United Continental has higher revenue and earnings than China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. ADR Class H. United Continental is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. ADR Class H, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for United Continental and China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. ADR Class H, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
United Continental 1 4 13 0 2.67
China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. ADR Class H 1 1 5 0 2.57

United Continental currently has a consensus price target of $102.65, suggesting a potential upside of 14.08%. Given United Continental’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, research analysts clearly believe United Continental is more favorable than China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. ADR Class H.

Profitability

This table compares United Continental and China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. ADR Class H’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
United Continental 6.22% 29.33% 6.03%
China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. ADR Class H 2.31% 4.32% 1.06%

Risk & Volatility

United Continental has a beta of 1.2, meaning that its share price is 20% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. ADR Class H has a beta of 1.67, meaning that its share price is 67% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

United Continental beats China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. ADR Class H on 12 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About United Continental

United Continental Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides air transportation services in North America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. It transports people and cargo through its mainline and regional operations. As of December 31, 2018, the company operated a fleet of 1,329 aircraft. It also sells fuel; and offers catering, ground handling, and maintenance services for third parties. The company was formerly known as UAL Corporation and changed its name to United Continental Holdings, Inc. in October 2010. United Continental Holdings, Inc. was founded in 1934 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

About China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. ADR Class H

China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited, together with its subsidiaries, operates in the civil aviation industry in the People's Republic of China and internationally. The company offers passenger, cargo, mail delivery, ground, cargo handling, tour operations, air catering, and other extended transportation services. It is also involved in flight training; airline maintenance and consultation; import and export, investment, leasing, and consultation; hotel services; travel and air ticketing agency and transportation; the research and development of technology and products in the field of aviation; and e-commerce platform activities. As of December 31, 2017, the company operated a fleet of 637 aircraft, including 627 passenger aircraft and 10 business aircraft. China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Shanghai, the People's Republic of China. China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited is a subsidiary of China Eastern Air Holding Company Limited.

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