JetBlue Airways Co. (JBLU) Upgraded to Hold by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of JetBlue Airways Co. (NASDAQ:JBLU) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “We are impressed by JetBlue Airways’ efforts to reduce its debt levels. The company's efforts to control costs also encourage us. We are also impressed by the renewable jet fuel purchase agreement inked by JetBlue Airways with SG Preston. We are also positive on the carrier's move to invest in JetSuite and the Embraer-190 maintenance and paint agreement with Premier Aviation. However, shares of JetBlue Airways underperformed the Zacks categorized Transportation-Airline industry in the last three months. Adding to its woes, the company trimmed its unit revenue guidance for the first quarter of 2017. Increasing labor costs and fuel prices are also expected to hurt the bottom line in the first quarter. The recent labor deals inked by JetBlue Airways have resulted in the spike in labor costs.”

Several other equities analysts also recently issued reports on the stock. Imperial Capital reissued an outperform rating and set a $29.00 price objective on shares of JetBlue Airways in a research note on Tuesday, March 14th. Wolfe Research lowered shares of JetBlue Airways from a market perform rating to an underperform rating in a research report on Friday, January 27th. Argus lowered shares of JetBlue Airways from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, January 27th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised shares of JetBlue Airways from a neutral rating to an overweight rating and upped their price target for the stock from $21.42 to $27.00 in a research report on Wednesday, January 25th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Vetr raised shares of JetBlue Airways from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating and set a $24.49 price target for the company in a research report on Monday, January 23rd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating, six have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $24.95.

JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ:JBLU) traded up 0.724% during midday trading on Friday, hitting $20.165. 11,226,553 shares of the stock traded hands. The company’s 50-day moving average is $19.73 and its 200-day moving average is $19.52. The company has a market cap of $6.80 billion, a PE ratio of 9.067 and a beta of 0.26. JetBlue Airways has a one year low of $14.76 and a one year high of $23.15.

JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ:JBLU) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 26th. The company reported $0.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.49 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $1.60 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.64 billion. JetBlue Airways had a net margin of 11.31% and a return on equity of 20.64%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 2.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.56 earnings per share. Equities research analysts expect that JetBlue Airways will post $1.80 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, CEO Robin Hayes sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $22.66, for a total transaction of $45,320.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 351,881 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,973,623.46. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP James G. Hnat sold 9,127 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, March 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $20.41, for a total transaction of $186,282.07. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 26,932 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $549,682.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 19,247 shares of company stock valued at $409,083. Company insiders own 0.70% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in JBLU. Thompson Siegel & Walmsley LLC purchased a new stake in JetBlue Airways during the fourth quarter worth $64,478,000. Norges Bank purchased a new stake in JetBlue Airways during the fourth quarter worth $44,734,000. Bank of Montreal Can raised its stake in JetBlue Airways by 46.4% in the third quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 4,556,392 shares of the company’s stock worth $78,551,000 after buying an additional 1,444,045 shares during the last quarter. Korea Investment CORP purchased a new stake in JetBlue Airways during the third quarter worth $20,707,000. Finally, Alyeska Investment Group L.P. raised its stake in JetBlue Airways by 1,162.4% in the fourth quarter. Alyeska Investment Group L.P. now owns 1,158,303 shares of the company’s stock worth $25,969,000 after buying an additional 1,066,547 shares during the last quarter. 80.57% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About JetBlue Airways

JetBlue Airways Corporation is a passenger carrier company. The Company provides air transportation services across the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America. It operates various types of aircrafts, including Airbus A321, Airbus A320 and Embraer E190. It also provides premium transcontinental product called Mint.

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