United Continental reports 4Q loss as traffic fell

The parent company of United Airlines is reporting a $620 million loss in the fourth quarter as passengers stayed away following its problems earlier in the year with integrating Continental.

The company posted a full-year loss of $723 million, too, almost wiping out its $840 million profit from 2011.

The fourth-quarter loss worked out to $1.87 per share. Excluding special items, the loss would have been 58 cents per share, matching expectations of analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Superstorm Sandy cut $85 million from profits in 2012's final quarter.

United's struggles with technology issues — tied to the Continental integration — caused some customers to fly on other airlines. Traffic fell 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

A year ago United Continental Holdings Inc. lost $138 million, or 42 cents per share.

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