Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC boosted its position in shares of Southwest Airlines Company (NYSE:LUV) by 0.8% during the first quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 146,732 shares of the airline’s stock after buying an additional 1,165 shares during the period. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC’s holdings in Southwest Airlines were worth $7,888,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
Several other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America raised its position in Southwest Airlines by 0.6% in the first quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 2,374 shares of the airline’s stock worth $128,000 after buying an additional 15 shares in the last quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp raised its position in Southwest Airlines by 6.6% in the first quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 2,502 shares of the airline’s stock worth $135,000 after buying an additional 154 shares in the last quarter. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC raised its position in Southwest Airlines by 88.9% in the first quarter. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC now owns 2,821 shares of the airline’s stock worth $152,000 after buying an additional 1,328 shares in the last quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC raised its position in Southwest Airlines by 0.5% in the first quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC now owns 3,488 shares of the airline’s stock worth $184,000 after buying an additional 16 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bienville Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in Southwest Airlines during the first quarter worth approximately $202,000. 80.34% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
Shares of Southwest Airlines Company (NYSE:LUV) traded down 1.01% during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $54.81. 5,304,939 shares of the stock traded hands. The company has a market capitalization of $32.81 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.81 and a beta of 1.26. Southwest Airlines Company has a 1-year low of $36.05 and a 1-year high of $64.39. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $60.45 and a 200 day moving average of $57.02.
Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The airline reported $1.24 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.20 by $0.04. Southwest Airlines had a return on equity of 26.07% and a net margin of 9.63%. The firm had revenue of $5.74 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.73 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.19 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.7% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Southwest Airlines Company will post $3.80 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
Southwest Airlines declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a share buyback program on Wednesday, May 17th that authorizes the company to buyback $2.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the airline to purchase up to 5.8% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 14th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, August 24th will be paid a dividend of $0.125 per share. This represents a $0.50 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.91%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, August 22nd. Southwest Airlines’s payout ratio is 15.34%.
A number of equities analysts have recently commented on the stock. Stifel Nicolaus reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $80.00 price target on shares of Southwest Airlines in a research report on Friday, May 26th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Southwest Airlines from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $68.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, June 6th. Argus upgraded shares of Southwest Airlines from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $61.76 to $68.00 in a research note on Thursday, June 22nd. Wolfe Research downgraded shares of Southwest Airlines from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $63.00 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Monday, July 10th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Cowen and Company restated a “buy” rating and issued a $67.00 price objective on shares of Southwest Airlines in a research note on Friday, July 28th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating, eleven have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $65.78.
In other news, COO De Ven Michael G. Van sold 15,273 shares of Southwest Airlines stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $57.14, for a total transaction of $872,699.22. Following the sale, the chief operating officer now directly owns 182,302 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,416,736.28. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Jeff Lamb sold 19,800 shares of Southwest Airlines stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.00, for a total value of $1,207,800.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 92,468 shares in the company, valued at $5,640,548. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 118,740 shares of company stock worth $6,923,568 over the last three months. Insiders own 0.21% of the company’s stock.
About Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines Co (Southwest) operates Southwest Airlines, a passenger airline that provides scheduled air transportation in the United States and near-international markets. The Company provides point-to-point service. The Company offers ancillary service offerings, such as Southwest’s EarlyBird Check-In and transportation of pets and unaccompanied minors, in accordance with Southwest’s respective policies.
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