Southwest Airlines Company (LUV) Receives Consensus Recommendation of “Buy” from Analysts

Southwest Airlines Company (NYSE:LUV) has received an average rating of “Buy” from the nineteen research firms that are currently covering the firm, Marketbeat Ratings reports. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation, five have assigned a hold recommendation, twelve have issued a buy recommendation and one has assigned a strong buy recommendation to the company. The average 12 month target price among brokerages that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $65.89.

Several research analysts recently commented on LUV shares. BidaskClub raised Southwest Airlines from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 20th. Zacks Investment Research raised Southwest Airlines from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $67.00 target price for the company in a research report on Tuesday, June 13th. ValuEngine raised Southwest Airlines from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, June 2nd. Vetr raised Southwest Airlines from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $63.80 target price for the company in a research report on Monday, June 5th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $80.00 target price on shares of Southwest Airlines in a research report on Friday, May 26th.

In related news, Director William H. Dr Cunningham purchased 4,500 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, August 11th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $54.00 per share, with a total value of $243,000.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 66,969 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,616,326. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. 0.21% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Southwest Airlines by 2.4% during the 2nd quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 466,121 shares of the airline’s stock worth $28,965,000 after acquiring an additional 10,851 shares during the last quarter. Columbus Circle Investors increased its holdings in shares of Southwest Airlines by 28.2% during the 2nd quarter. Columbus Circle Investors now owns 220,903 shares of the airline’s stock worth $13,727,000 after acquiring an additional 48,632 shares during the last quarter. MARSHALL WACE ASIA Ltd acquired a new position in shares of Southwest Airlines during the 1st quarter worth approximately $22,797,000. Pacer Advisors Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Southwest Airlines by 32.1% during the 2nd quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 14,014 shares of the airline’s stock worth $871,000 after acquiring an additional 3,409 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Wedbush Securities Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Southwest Airlines by 21.3% during the 1st quarter. Wedbush Securities Inc. now owns 13,146 shares of the airline’s stock worth $707,000 after acquiring an additional 2,311 shares during the last quarter. 79.42% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Shares of Southwest Airlines (LUV) traded up 1.26% during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $52.87. 5,065,076 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The stock has a market cap of $31.65 billion, a PE ratio of 16.12 and a beta of 1.29. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $54.42 and its 200-day moving average is $57.04. Southwest Airlines has a 1-year low of $36.31 and a 1-year high of $64.39.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The airline reported $1.24 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.20 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $5.74 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.73 billion. Southwest Airlines had a return on equity of 26.07% and a net margin of 9.63%. Southwest Airlines’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.19 earnings per share. Analysts predict that Southwest Airlines will post $3.77 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 14th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, August 24th will be given a dividend of $0.125 per share. This represents a $0.50 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.95%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, August 22nd. Southwest Airlines’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 15.34%.

Southwest Airlines declared that its board has authorized a stock buyback program on Wednesday, May 17th that authorizes the company to buyback $2.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the airline to reacquire up to 5.8% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

Southwest Airlines Company Profile

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV)

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