Southwest Airlines Company (LUV) Raised to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Southwest Airlines Company (NYSE:LUV) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Of late, shares of Southwest Airlines have struggled due to multiple headwinds. Consequently, the stock underperformed its industry in the last six months. Also, the recent hurricanes and the earthquake in Mexico disrupted this low-cost carrier’s operation, thus forcing it to cancel 5,000 flights in the third quarter of 2017. As a result, the company’s top line was hurt to the tune of $100 million resulting in lower-than-expected revenues. Furthermore, high fuel costs pose a threat. Evidently, the carrier's bottom line declined 5.4% on a year-over-year basis due to high costs. We are, however, appreciative of the company's efforts to enhance its shareholders’ wealth through dividends and share buybacks. Efforts to expand operations also raise optimism in the stock. The rise in October load factor, due to traffic growth outpacing capacity expansion, is also encouraging.”

Other analysts have also issued reports about the stock. Wolfe Research raised shares of Southwest Airlines from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a research note on Friday, August 18th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Southwest Airlines from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 12th. Vetr lowered shares of Southwest Airlines from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $59.16 price target for the company. in a research note on Wednesday, October 4th. Morgan Stanley set a $64.00 price target on shares of Southwest Airlines and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, August 17th. Finally, Barclays PLC reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $61.00 price target on shares of Southwest Airlines in a research note on Thursday, September 14th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $66.58.

Shares of Southwest Airlines (NYSE LUV) traded up $0.03 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $53.49. 2,484,900 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 5,046,954. The firm has a market cap of $31,740.32, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.41, a P/E/G ratio of 1.77 and a beta of 1.31. Southwest Airlines has a 12 month low of $42.99 and a 12 month high of $64.39. The company has a current ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 0.55 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.46.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The airline reported $0.88 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.87 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $5.27 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.29 billion. Southwest Airlines had a net margin of 10.12% and a return on equity of 24.85%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.93 EPS. equities analysts forecast that Southwest Airlines will post 3.56 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, Director John T. Montford sold 935 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.94, for a total transaction of $50,433.90. Following the sale, the director now owns 25,000 shares in the company, valued at $1,348,500. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 0.21% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in LUV. Boston Partners raised its holdings in shares of Southwest Airlines by 101.7% during the third quarter. Boston Partners now owns 4,980,739 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $278,822,000 after acquiring an additional 2,511,258 shares during the period. Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB publ increased its stake in Southwest Airlines by 8,363.9% in the 1st quarter. Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB publ now owns 1,852,840 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $99,609,000 after buying an additional 1,830,949 shares during the period. Thrivent Financial For Lutherans increased its stake in Southwest Airlines by 35.6% in the 2nd quarter. Thrivent Financial For Lutherans now owns 4,150,288 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $257,901,000 after buying an additional 1,090,189 shares during the period. Ameriprise Financial Inc. increased its stake in Southwest Airlines by 13.1% in the 2nd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 8,836,067 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $549,016,000 after buying an additional 1,026,892 shares during the period. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its stake in Southwest Airlines by 65.4% in the 2nd quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 2,555,887 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $158,823,000 after buying an additional 1,010,966 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 79.58% of the company’s stock.

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.

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