Southwest Airlines Company (LUV) Given “Buy” Rating at Stifel Nicolaus

Stifel Nicolaus reissued their buy rating on shares of Southwest Airlines Company (NYSE:LUV) in a research note released on Friday, May 26th. They currently have a $80.00 target price on the airline’s stock.

LUV has been the subject of a number of other reports. Imperial Capital reaffirmed an outperform rating and set a $63.00 price target on shares of Southwest Airlines Company in a research report on Tuesday, March 14th. Vetr raised Southwest Airlines Company from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $57.21 price target for the company in a research report on Monday, March 13th. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an overweight rating and set a $61.00 price target on shares of Southwest Airlines Company in a research report on Wednesday, February 22nd. Cowen and Company increased their price target on Southwest Airlines Company from $55.00 to $57.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research report on Friday, January 27th. Finally, Scotiabank reissued a sector perform rating on shares of Southwest Airlines Company in a research report on Thursday, May 4th. Six analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $59.87.

Shares of Southwest Airlines Company (NYSE:LUV) traded down 0.97% on Friday, reaching $60.33. 4,835,957 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. Southwest Airlines Company has a 12 month low of $35.42 and a 12 month high of $61.24. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $59.04 and its 200-day moving average price is $54.70. The company has a market capitalization of $36.48 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.10 and a beta of 1.26.

Southwest Airlines Company (NYSE:LUV) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, April 27th. The airline reported $0.61 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.62 by $0.01. Southwest Airlines Company had a net margin of 10.16% and a return on equity of 26.75%. The company had revenue of $4.88 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.91 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.88 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Southwest Airlines Company will post $3.84 EPS for the current year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, June 28th. Investors of record on Wednesday, June 7th will be given a $0.125 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, June 5th. This is a boost from Southwest Airlines Company’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.10. This represents a $0.50 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.83%. Southwest Airlines Company’s dividend payout ratio is 15.11%.

In related news, SVP Mark R. Shaw sold 3,823 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $59.13, for a total value of $226,053.99. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 7,784 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $460,267.92. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Gary C. Kelly sold 51,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.06, for a total value of $2,910,060.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 556,808 shares in the company, valued at $31,771,464.48. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 118,740 shares of company stock worth $6,923,568 over the last ninety days. 0.18% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in Southwest Airlines Company by 0.7% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 38,498,787 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $2,069,695,000 after buying an additional 286,456 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in Southwest Airlines Company by 4,163.3% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 34,983,319 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $1,880,703,000 after buying an additional 34,162,752 shares during the period. State Street Corp raised its stake in Southwest Airlines Company by 1.5% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 23,480,558 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $1,262,308,000 after buying an additional 353,960 shares during the period. Egerton Capital UK LLP raised its stake in Southwest Airlines Company by 39.0% in the first quarter. Egerton Capital UK LLP now owns 9,401,341 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $505,416,000 after buying an additional 2,638,743 shares during the period. Finally, Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its stake in Southwest Airlines Company by 80.3% in the first quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 7,809,175 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $419,796,000 after buying an additional 3,477,912 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 80.58% of the company’s stock.

About Southwest Airlines Company

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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