Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) Rating Increased to Outperform at Wolfe Research

Wolfe Research upgraded shares of Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) from a peer perform rating to an outperform rating in a report issued on Friday morning, 24/7 WallStreet reports. The brokerage currently has $57.00 target price on the airline’s stock.

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on LUV. Argus cut shares of Southwest Airlines from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 13th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Southwest Airlines from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Thursday, May 16th. Imperial Capital reaffirmed an in-line rating and issued a $55.00 price objective (up previously from $52.00) on shares of Southwest Airlines in a research note on Friday, April 26th. Morgan Stanley cut their price objective on shares of Southwest Airlines from $64.00 to $59.00 and set an overweight rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, August 14th. Finally, Barclays cut their price objective on shares of Southwest Airlines from $65.00 to $60.00 and set an equal weight rating for the company in a research note on Friday, April 26th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the stock. Southwest Airlines presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $57.15.

Shares of NYSE:LUV opened at $50.64 on Friday. The company’s fifty day moving average price is $51.58 and its 200-day moving average price is $52.37. The firm has a market capitalization of $25.91 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.94, a PEG ratio of 1.06 and a beta of 1.50. Southwest Airlines has a one year low of $44.28 and a one year high of $64.02. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.37, a current ratio of 0.64 and a quick ratio of 0.59.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 25th. The airline reported $1.37 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.35 by $0.02. Southwest Airlines had a net margin of 10.73% and a return on equity of 24.12%. The company had revenue of $5.91 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.94 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.26 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 2.9% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Southwest Airlines will post 4.29 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, September 11th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, August 21st will be given a dividend of $0.18 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, August 20th. This represents a $0.72 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.42%. Southwest Airlines’s payout ratio is currently 16.98%.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP lifted its stake in Southwest Airlines by 37.7% in the 4th quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 4,920,617 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $228,736,000 after purchasing an additional 1,348,168 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in Southwest Airlines by 13.7% in the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 6,706,799 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $311,306,000 after acquiring an additional 809,418 shares during the period. DNB Asset Management AS raised its holdings in Southwest Airlines by 2.2% in the 1st quarter. DNB Asset Management AS now owns 20,266 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $1,052,000 after acquiring an additional 436 shares during the period. Virtu Financial LLC raised its holdings in Southwest Airlines by 13.7% in the 1st quarter. Virtu Financial LLC now owns 9,238 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $480,000 after acquiring an additional 1,111 shares during the period. Finally, Raymond James Trust N.A. raised its holdings in Southwest Airlines by 2.1% in the 1st quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 10,238 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $532,000 after acquiring an additional 209 shares during the period. 82.64% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Southwest Airlines

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, 2018, the company operated a total of 750 Boeing 737 aircraft; and served 99 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, and Turks and Caicos.

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Analyst Recommendations for Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV)

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