Southwest Airlines (LUV) Price Target Cut to $69.00 by Analysts at Morgan Stanley

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) had its price target lowered by Morgan Stanley from $72.00 to $69.00 in a research report sent to investors on Thursday. The brokerage currently has an overweight rating on the airline’s stock.

Other research analysts also recently issued reports about the company. Buckingham Research upgraded Southwest Airlines from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $106.00 price target for the company in a research note on Thursday, March 22nd. They noted that the move was a valuation call. UBS dropped their price target on Southwest Airlines from $75.00 to $70.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, March 22nd. Stifel Nicolaus restated a buy rating and issued a $85.00 price target (up from $80.00) on shares of Southwest Airlines in a research note on Wednesday, January 10th. Vetr upgraded Southwest Airlines from a sell rating to a hold rating and set a $65.81 price target for the company in a research note on Monday, January 1st. Finally, JPMorgan Chase downgraded Southwest Airlines from an overweight rating to a neutral rating and set a $70.00 price target for the company. in a research note on Tuesday, January 30th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and sixteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. Southwest Airlines presently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $70.45.

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Southwest Airlines stock traded down $0.21 during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $54.73. The stock had a trading volume of 1,547,895 shares, compared to its average volume of 5,075,272. The firm has a market capitalization of $31,455.38, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.62, a P/E/G ratio of 1.38 and a beta of 1.14. Southwest Airlines has a 52-week low of $49.76 and a 52-week high of $66.99. The company has a current ratio of 0.70, a quick ratio of 0.64 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) last released its earnings results on Thursday, January 25th. The airline reported $0.77 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.76 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $5.27 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.25 billion. Southwest Airlines had a net margin of 16.48% and a return on equity of 23.43%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 3.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.75 EPS. analysts predict that Southwest Airlines will post 4.86 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, March 28th. Investors of record on Wednesday, March 7th were given a $0.125 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, March 6th. This represents a $0.50 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.91%. Southwest Airlines’s dividend payout ratio is presently 14.29%.

In related news, COO De Ven Michael G. Van sold 31,099 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, March 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $57.35, for a total value of $1,783,527.65. Following the completion of the sale, the chief operating officer now directly owns 172,883 shares in the company, valued at $9,914,840.05. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Douglas H. Brooks sold 10,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, March 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $60.05, for a total value of $600,500.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 56,269 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,378,953.45. The disclosure for this sale 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 corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in LUV. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its stake in Southwest Airlines by 39.1% in the fourth quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 8,286,126 shares of the airline’s stock worth $542,326,000 after purchasing an additional 2,328,296 shares during the period. Janus Henderson Group PLC increased its stake in shares of Southwest Airlines by 171.7% during the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 1,821,985 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $101,994,000 after buying an additional 1,151,371 shares during the period. Anchor Bolt Capital LP increased its stake in shares of Southwest Airlines by 221.9% during the fourth quarter. Anchor Bolt Capital LP now owns 1,346,350 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $88,119,000 after buying an additional 928,147 shares during the period. Wealthstreet Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of Southwest Airlines during the fourth quarter valued at $56,737,000. Finally, Element Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Southwest Airlines during the fourth quarter valued at $49,928,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 80.10% of the company’s stock.

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Southwest Airlines Company Profile

Southwest Airlines Co operates a passenger airline that provides scheduled air transportation services in the United States and near-international markets. As of December 31, 2017, the company operated a total of 706 Boeing 737 aircraft; and served 100 destinations in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as well as 10 near-international countries, including Mexico, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Aruba, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Belize, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Turks, and Chaos.

Analyst Recommendations for Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV)

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