Southwest Airlines (LUV) Lifted to Buy at Buckingham Research

Buckingham Research upgraded shares of Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday morning, MarketBeat.com reports. The brokerage currently has $106.00 price objective on the airline’s stock. The analysts noted that the move was a valuation call.

LUV has been the subject of several other reports. Vetr downgraded Southwest Airlines from a sell rating to a strong sell rating and set a $54.06 target price for the company. in a research note on Tuesday, December 5th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded Southwest Airlines from an overweight rating to a neutral rating and set a $70.00 target price for the company. in a research note on Tuesday, January 30th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Southwest Airlines from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $68.00 price target for the company in a research report on Tuesday, January 30th. Atlantic Securities upgraded Southwest Airlines from a neutral rating to an overweight rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $48.71 to $71.00 in a research report on Thursday, December 14th. Finally, Cowen reiterated a buy rating and set a $67.00 price target on shares of Southwest Airlines in a research report on Tuesday, January 9th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and fifteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $69.95.

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Southwest Airlines stock opened at $56.72 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45, a quick ratio of 0.64 and a current ratio of 0.70. The firm has a market capitalization of $33,348.58, a P/E ratio of 9.75, a PEG ratio of 1.43 and a beta of 1.20. Southwest Airlines has a 52 week low of $49.76 and a 52 week high of $66.99.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, January 25th. The airline reported $0.77 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.76 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $5.27 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.25 billion. Southwest Airlines had a return on equity of 23.43% and a net margin of 16.48%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 3.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.75 EPS. research analysts anticipate that Southwest Airlines will post 4.95 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, March 28th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, March 7th will be issued a $0.125 dividend. This represents a $0.50 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.88%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, March 6th. Southwest Airlines’s payout ratio is currently 8.59%.

In other news, Chairman Gary C. Kelly sold 38,779 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, February 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $57.95, for a total transaction of $2,247,243.05. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 581,029 shares in the company, valued at approximately $33,670,630.55. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director William H. Dr Cunningham purchased 3,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, February 12th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $56.25 per share, with a total value of $196,875.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now owns 70,469 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,963,881.25. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 108,473 shares of company stock valued at $6,296,091. 0.21% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. BB&T Investment Services Inc. lifted its stake in Southwest Airlines by 325.5% during the 3rd quarter. BB&T Investment Services Inc. now owns 1,583 shares of the airline’s stock worth $110,000 after acquiring an additional 1,211 shares in the last quarter. Cerebellum GP LLC acquired a new position in Southwest Airlines during the 4th quarter worth about $127,000. Grove Bank & Trust lifted its stake in Southwest Airlines by 365.0% during the 3rd quarter. Grove Bank & Trust now owns 2,395 shares of the airline’s stock worth $134,000 after acquiring an additional 1,880 shares in the last quarter. SeaCrest Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in Southwest Airlines during the 4th quarter worth about $136,000. Finally, Delpha Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in Southwest Airlines during the 4th quarter worth about $151,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 80.03% of the company’s stock.

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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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