Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE:ALK) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Alaska Air Group reported better than expected earnings and revenues in the second quarter of 2017. Both earnings and revenues improved on a year over year basis. Passenger revenues which accounted for the bulk of the top line (86%) improved 43% on a year-over-year basis. Moreover, the carrier's June traffic was impressive. The company paid a dividend of $0.30 per share in the second quarter, up 9% year over year. However, higher fuel costs and labor expenses are expected to limit earnings growth, going forward. In fact, total operating expenses (on a reported basis) in the second quarter rose 50% year over year to $1,609 million. In fact, Alaska Air Group shares have underperformed its industry over the last one month.”

A number of other analysts have also recently commented on ALK. BidaskClub cut shares of Alaska Air Group from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Thursday, July 27th. J P Morgan Chase & Co set a $116.00 price objective on shares of Alaska Air Group and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Saturday, April 1st. Imperial Capital lowered their price objective on shares of Alaska Air Group from $101.00 to $98.00 and set an in-line rating for the company in a research report on Friday, March 31st. Morgan Stanley lowered their price objective on shares of Alaska Air Group from $103.00 to $102.00 and set an overweight rating for the company in a research report on Monday, July 17th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus restated a buy rating and issued a $145.00 price objective on shares of Alaska Air Group in a research report on Friday, May 26th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating, eight have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. Alaska Air Group presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $105.41.

Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) opened at 85.23 on Friday. Alaska Air Group has a one year low of $64.19 and a one year high of $101.43. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $89.97 and its 200-day moving average price is $91.06. The stock has a market cap of $10.53 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.86 and a beta of 0.96.

Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The transportation company reported $2.51 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.52 by $0.01. Alaska Air Group had a net margin of 11.02% and a return on equity of 30.04%. The company had revenue of $2.10 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.10 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $2.12 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 40.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts predict that Alaska Air Group will post $7.95 earnings per share for the current year.

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In other Alaska Air Group news, Chairman Bradley D. Tilden sold 5,600 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $94.48, for a total transaction of $529,088.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now owns 145,546 shares in the company, valued at approximately $13,751,186.08. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Chairman Bradley D. Tilden sold 6,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $88.72, for a total value of $576,680.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 148,446 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $13,170,129.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 23,800 shares of company stock valued at $2,139,479. Corporate insiders own 0.57% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Bessemer Group Inc. boosted its position in Alaska Air Group by 57.9% in the second quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 1,895 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $171,000 after buying an additional 695 shares during the period. Twin Tree Management LP purchased a new position in Alaska Air Group during the first quarter worth about $179,000. Assetmark Inc. boosted its position in Alaska Air Group by 70.3% in the first quarter. Assetmark Inc. now owns 2,027 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $187,000 after buying an additional 837 shares during the period. Rehmann Capital Advisory Group purchased a new position in Alaska Air Group during the second quarter worth about $201,000. Finally, Insight Capital Research & Management Inc. purchased a new position in Alaska Air Group during the second quarter worth about $215,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 90.67% of the company’s stock.

About Alaska Air Group

Alaska Air Group, Inc is the holding company of Alaska Airlines (Alaska), Virgin America Inc, Horizon Air (Horizon) and other business units. The Company operates through three segments: Mainline, Regional and Horizon. Its Mainline segment includes Alaska’s and Virgin America’s scheduled air transportation for passengers and cargo throughout the United States, and in parts of Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and Cuba.

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