Short Interest in Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV) Drops By 31.4%

Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV) was the recipient of a large decrease in short interest in the month of February. As of February 14th, there was short interest totalling 12,440,000 shares, a decrease of 31.4% from the January 30th total of 18,140,000 shares. Currently, 2.4% of the company’s stock are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 3,620,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 3.4 days.

NYSE:LUV traded down $0.76 on Wednesday, hitting $48.90. 9,286,100 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 4,535,529. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $55.90 and a 200-day moving average price of $54.76. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.30, a current ratio of 0.67 and a quick ratio of 0.61. Southwest Airlines has a 52 week low of $47.40 and a 52 week high of $58.83. The company has a market cap of $27.99 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.43, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.38 and a beta of 1.47.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, January 23rd. The airline reported $0.98 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.09 by ($0.11). Southwest Airlines had a return on equity of 23.31% and a net margin of 10.26%. The business had revenue of $5.73 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.74 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.17 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up .4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, research analysts expect that Southwest Airlines will post 4.55 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, March 25th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, March 4th will be given a dividend of $0.18 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, March 3rd. This represents a $0.72 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.47%. Southwest Airlines’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 16.86%.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Boston Partners lifted its position in Southwest Airlines by 2.8% during the 4th quarter. Boston Partners now owns 9,623,976 shares of the airline’s stock worth $519,561,000 after buying an additional 258,793 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its holdings in shares of Southwest Airlines by 1.1% in the 4th quarter. FMR LLC now owns 5,167,458 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $278,940,000 after purchasing an additional 58,150 shares during the period. Provident Trust Co. raised its holdings in shares of Southwest Airlines by 5.7% in the 4th quarter. Provident Trust Co. now owns 4,363,608 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $235,548,000 after purchasing an additional 234,583 shares during the period. Maj Invest Holding A S raised its holdings in shares of Southwest Airlines by 11.6% in the 4th quarter. Maj Invest Holding A S now owns 4,112,177 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $221,974,000 after purchasing an additional 427,878 shares during the period. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its holdings in shares of Southwest Airlines by 46.7% in the 4th quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 3,438,900 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $185,632,000 after purchasing an additional 1,095,520 shares during the period. 85.52% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

LUV has been the subject of a number of research analyst reports. Vertical Research lowered shares of Southwest Airlines from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $58.00 target price for the company. in a research note on Thursday, January 9th. Bank of America lowered shares of Southwest Airlines from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $60.00 target price for the company. in a research note on Wednesday, January 8th. Sanford C. Bernstein lowered shares of Southwest Airlines from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and upped their target price for the stock from $58.00 to $61.00 in a research note on Thursday, October 31st. Deutsche Bank lowered shares of Southwest Airlines from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and reduced their target price for the stock from $62.00 to $58.00 in a research note on Friday, January 17th. Finally, Citigroup initiated coverage on shares of Southwest Airlines in a research note on Thursday, October 31st. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $59.00 target price for the company. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have assigned a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Southwest Airlines has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $58.18.

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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