US Airways Group Posts a Surprise Profit

US Airways Group (NYS: LCC) reported earnings on Jan. 25. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), US Airways Group met expectations on revenues.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue increased, and earnings per share shrank significantly. The profit was a surprise, as analysts had predicted a loss.

Gross margins expanded, operating margins contracted, net margins dropped.

Revenue details
US Airways Group booked revenue of $3.2 billion. The 10 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ predicted revenue of $3.1 billion. Sales were 8.5% higher than the prior-year quarter's $2.9 billion


Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions.

EPS details
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.13. The 13 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ averaged -$0.04 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS of $0.11 for Q4 were 33% lower than the prior-year quarter's $0.16 per share.


Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Figures may be non-GAAP to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 34.1%, 1,480 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 3.5%, 30 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 0.6%, 30 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $3.1 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is -$0.48.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $13.6 billion. The average EPS estimate is $1.63.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a one-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 450 members out of 770 rating the stock outperform, and 321 members rating it underperform. Among 186 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 94 give US Airways Group a green thumbs-up, and 92 give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on US Airways Group is outperform, with an average price target of $10.38.

Over the decades, small-cap stocks, like US Airways Group have provided market-beating returns, provided they're value priced and have solid businesses. Read about a pair of companies with a lock on their markets in "Too Small to Fail: Two Small Caps the Government Won't Let Go Broke." Click here for instant access to this free report.

At the time thisarticle was published Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor ofMotley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.