Traders are keenly watching United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) today after the a video of airport security personnel forcibly removing a doctor of Asian ethnicity from an overbooked United flight went viral overnight. Apparently the airline had asked four passengers randomly selected through a computer program to make room for employees so that the airplane could take off, and the doctor refused, saying that he had to see patients next morning. Airport security personnel then followed procedure and forcibly removed the passenger.
Although a potential settlement won’t make a big difference in the company’s overall fundamentals, United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL)’s reputation and its potential growth opportunities in China could be temporarily hurt by the incident. It has certainly been a PR disaster for the airline in China as the top trending hashtag in China’s version of Twitter was #UnitedAirlinesforcespassengeroffplane overnight. As of this moment, shares of United are off around 3% due to weakened sentiment. In the long run, bulls hope that people will forget about the incident and move on.
What Does The Smart Money Sentiment Say?
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Although the number of top funds reporting stakes in United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) decreased by 9 quarter-over-quarter to 54, the amount held by the smart money increased to $5.93 billion at the end of Q4 from $3.74 billion at the end of Q3. Warren Buffett‘s Berkshire Hathaway increased its stake by 539% to 28.9 million shares at the end of 2016.
The Bottom Line
United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) shares are trending due to a viral video that might hurt its reputation temporarily. For more reading, check out ‘Top 10 Safest Low-Cost Airlines in the World‘.