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United Continental profit up, but shy of estimates

The parent of United Airlines is reporting a larger third-quarter profit Thursday, but its results are short of analyst expectations.

United Continental Holdings Inc. earned $379 million, or 98 cents per share. If not for special charges, it would have earned $590 million, or $1.51 per share. That’s three cents per share less than expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet.

During the same period last year United had a small profit. Revenue in the most recent quarter rose 3 percent to $10.23 billion, also less than analysts had expected.

United has been struggling to absorb Continental after their 2010 merger. On Thursday, CEO Jeff Smisek said it has improved its operations and customer service to the point where it is competitive in those areas.

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