United Continental Holdings (NYSE: UAL) reported earnings on Jan. 26. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), United Continental Holdings met expectations on revenue and crushed expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue grew, and earnings per share dropped.

Gross margins dropped, operating margins dropped, and net margins increased.

Revenue details
United Continental Holdings notched revenue of $8.93 billion. The 11 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ predicted a top line of $8.93 billion. Sales were 5.9% higher than the prior-year quarter's $8.43 billion.

My

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions.

EPS details
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.30. The 10 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $0.17 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS were -$0.42 for Q4 versus -$1.15 per share for the prior-year quarter.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Figures may be non-GAAP to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 24.4%, 2,090 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 3.3%, 170 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was -1.5%, 240 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $8.68 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is -$0.12.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $38.72 billion. The average EPS estimate is $5.20.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a one-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 385 members out of 782 rating the stock outperform, and 397 members rating it underperform. Among 219 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 94 give United Continental Holdings a green thumbs-up, and 125 give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on United Continental Holdings is outperform, with an average price target of $32.57.

Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.