Investors Buy Shares of Southwest Airlines (LUV) on Weakness

Investors purchased shares of Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV) on weakness during trading hours on Thursday. $96.41 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $41.71 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $54.70 million into the stock. Of all companies tracked, Southwest Airlines had the 13th highest net in-flow for the day. Southwest Airlines traded down ($0.09) for the day and closed at $48.99

LUV has been the topic of several recent research reports. JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut shares of Southwest Airlines from a “neutral” rating to an “underweight” rating and dropped their target price for the stock from $63.00 to $52.00 in a report on Tuesday, October 30th. Raymond James decreased their price objective on shares of Southwest Airlines from $68.00 to $60.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, October 26th. Morgan Stanley set a $68.00 price target on shares of Southwest Airlines and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, October 5th. Citigroup raised their price objective on shares of Southwest Airlines from $59.00 to $62.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, November 29th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group began coverage on shares of Southwest Airlines in a research note on Monday, November 19th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $54.00 price objective on the stock. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $63.53.

The company has a quick ratio of 0.65, a current ratio of 0.71 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47. The company has a market cap of $26.91 billion, a PE ratio of 14.00, a PEG ratio of 0.90 and a beta of 1.31.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The airline reported $1.08 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.06 by $0.02. Southwest Airlines had a return on equity of 22.27% and a net margin of 17.18%. The business had revenue of $5.58 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.56 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.88 EPS. Research analysts expect that Southwest Airlines Co will post 4.13 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 2nd. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, December 5th were given a dividend of $0.16 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, December 4th. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.31%. Southwest Airlines’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 18.29%.

In related news, Director John T. Montford sold 980 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, December 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.27, for a total transaction of $50,244.60. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 20,983 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,075,798.41. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director John T. Montford sold 956 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, November 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.35, for a total value of $50,046.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.23% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. ACG Wealth boosted its stake in Southwest Airlines by 18.6% during the 3rd quarter. ACG Wealth now owns 45,188 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $2,822,000 after purchasing an additional 7,098 shares during the period. First Hawaiian Bank acquired a new position in shares of Southwest Airlines in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $1,829,000. Valeo Financial Advisors LLC increased its holdings in Southwest Airlines by 12.3% during the 3rd quarter. Valeo Financial Advisors LLC now owns 11,534 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $566,000 after purchasing an additional 1,265 shares in the last quarter. Prospera Financial Services Inc acquired a new stake in Southwest Airlines during the 3rd quarter valued at $615,000. Finally, Salem Investment Counselors Inc. increased its holdings in Southwest Airlines by 3,172.6% during the 2nd quarter. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. now owns 22,843 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $1,162,000 after purchasing an additional 22,145 shares in the last quarter. 79.43% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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Southwest Airlines Company Profile (NYSE:LUV)

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, and Turks and Caicos.

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