United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) Stock Up After Upgrade at Bank of America Corp.

United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) shares rose in value Tuesday Dec 6 with lower trade volume than normal after a number of analysts weighed in on the investing value of the stock with a upgraded rating.

Meanwhile, U.S. stocks looked for direction on Tuesday with the Dow industrials trying for a fresh record a day after closing at an all-time high in the previous session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.08% opened little-changed at 19,221, the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.01% climbed 2 points, or 0.1%, at 2,206, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.20%

Analysts at Bank of America Corp. upgraded shares of United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) from Neutral to Buy today. With a rating of Buy on the shares, United Continental Holdings Inc. has a 52-week high of $70.30. As a means of comparison, a number of other analysts have issued reports on the company in recent days, and United Continental Holdings Inc. has secured a consensus one-year price target of $71.97, above the opening price of $69.41. Stock prices often trend to the upside on recommendations and new price targets of professional brokerage firms.

United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) shares last traded at $69.10, which represents a spike of $0.84 or 1.23% over the previous closing price. Opening at $69.41, they ranged from $69.01 and $70.30 throughout the day.

United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) now has a market cap of 21.92B.

United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) Average Daily Trading Volume

The stock’s average daily volume is 5,072,460 shares out of a total float 295,018,000 and some 454,271 shares crossed the trading desk yesterday, below the average. Look for trading volume to pick up in the coming days as investors often use increases in trading volume to identify heavy volume aggregation or circulation by institutional investors.

While increased trading for one day will not mean much, conversely, a trend of heavy trading volume on the buy side over a series of days or weeks expresses a positive indicator to market traders that institutions may be moving in, so institutional sponsorship is crucial.

Institutional sponsorship is defined by ownership of a stock by mutual funds, banks, pension funds and other large institutions.

These professional investors have substantial teams of analysts that investigate thousands of stocks. So watching their interests is a good way to ensure you are buying the right stocks.

United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) Moving Averages

A moving average can also act as support or resistance. In an uptrend a 50-day, 100-day or 200-day moving average may act as a support level, as shown in the figure below.

This is because the average acts like a floor (support), so the price bounces up off of it.

In a downtrend a moving average may act as resistance; like a ceiling, the price hits it and then starts to drop again.

By identifying trends, moving averages allow investors to make those trends work in their favor and increase the number of winning trades.

With that in mind, United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) now has a 50-day MA of $61.44 and 200-day MA of $50.96. It has traded in a 52-week range between $37.41 – 70.30 and today’s last price is 1.71%% lower than the 52 week high of $70.30.

Indeed, earnings growth is among the most critical things to look at in regards to stock investing and, accordingly, investors seek companies that have been successful at growing their earnings by at least 25% over the past 3 years.

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