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June traffic was accompanied by fresh guidance for 2Q12, and various offsets in the P&L resulted in no change to our 2Q12 EPS estimate of $0.47. Note this is still a penny below consensus. Our full year 2012 and 2013 EPS estimates are unchanged.
Following the release of mixed June traffic data we are tweaking our estimates for airlines ahead of what should be a relatively quiet 2Q earnings period. We expect a bit of qualitative commentary on 2013 capacity plans, upbeat but cautious descriptions of booking patterns, and possibly a modestly-sized narrowbody aircraft order from UAL. Considering the state of the global economy and the volatility of fuel prices, boring is the new exciting for U.S. airlines, a sector that we continue to rate Market Overweight.
Today we are upgrading ALK to Outperform from Peer Perform and establishing an upside target price of $45, which is based on an 8x multiple applied on our new 2013 EPS estimate of $5.57. We wrote about this in detail in our Wolfe Trahan Airline Quarterly, also published today.
This month’s Macro examines May and June data. As shown on Slide 7, domestic freight vols (Rail vols, Cass shipments, ATA truck tonnage, A4A air tonnage) generally improved y/y in May compared with April, but June data points so far are mixed as rail vols strengthened further but the broad-based Cass shipment index inflected negative y/y. Our proprietary Seasonal Freight Index ( Slide 8 ) improved modestly in May and has held in a range of 49-51 for 8 straight months and 16 of the past 17, indicating normal freight seasonality
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