Why Copa Holdings Is Flying Higher

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Copa Holdings (NYS: CPA) , a regional airline that provides passenger and cargo service to North, Central, and South America, rallied 12% today after reporting better-than-expected, first-quarter results.

So what: For the quarter, Copa Holdings reported a 29.5% increase in revenue to $543.3 million as yield per available mile jumped 6.8%. Copa's capacity expansion led to adjusted profit growth of 10.5% to $2.04 per share. Wall Street, on the other hand, was only expecting Copa to report $1.96 in quarterly profits. Fuel costs rose by 19.5% during the quarter and remain one of the biggest drags on Copa's margins.

Now what: It's a pretty good quarter to be a Copa shareholder. The company recently declared a $2.10 annual dividend (which works out to a yield of 2.5% based on Copa's price as of this writing) and expanded its capacity by 22.8%. Now the big question is whether Copa can increase its load factor in light of this expansion. I say this because Copa's load factor actually dropped 20 basis points in its latest quarter which gives me a little cause for concern. Until fuel prices drop significantly, or load factor improves, I'm perfectly happy staying on the sidelines.

Craving more input? Start by adding Copa Holdings to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.

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