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Weekly Recap: $KO, $UAL and

The Good:

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola edged into the green today after a strong earnings report, which beat earnings and revenue predictions. Coca-Cola pointed to a return to global demand in March, which matched 2019 levels, the first month to do so since the beginning of the pandemic. While Europe and North America’s return has stayed sluggish, there were encouraging signs as Africa, China and others made up for the slowing of soda sales in the West. Still, Coca-Cola is facing challenges in several of its sectors, including sports drinks, single-use water bottles and coffee.


The Bad:

United Airlines

Despite signs of a recovering demand for flights, United Airlines reported its fifth consecutive quarterly loss as international and domestic travel are both hampered by the ongoing Covid pandemic. In the first quarter of 2021, United lost nearly $1.4 billion. Revenue was down nearly 60% when one compares this quarter to the first quarter of 2019. The airline announced that it would be able to hit positive adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, if business and international travel demand returns to at least 65% of 2019 levels. In hopes that relaxed travel guidances in certain European countries would propel American bookings, United is opening up more flights to Iceland, Croatia and Greece for the summer.


The Ugly:

Altria

Altria stock sunk over 7% today on the news that the Biden administration is considering limiting legal nicotine amounts in cigarettes. First reported by the Wall Street Journal, the potential limitation would lower nicotine in all American cigarettes to a non-addictive level. This new action comes as the FDA considers banning menthol cigarettes completely. While none of this is not fresh news, inherently—a similar push to reduce nicotine levels was made by the FDA director Scott Gottleib in 2017 and the proposal of a menthol ban first appeared in 2018—Altria was hit more severely than other cigarette conglomerates, which also slipped today. However, these actions may take years to implement. In the meantime, Altria and others are pivoting to “reduced-risk” products, including Altria’s acquisition of Juul and Cronos Group.

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