Southwest Airlines Company (NYSE:LUV) shares gapped up before the market opened on Tuesday . The stock had previously closed at $58.18, but opened at $59.92. Southwest Airlines shares last traded at $62.03, with a volume of 9064300 shares trading hands.

A number of research firms have weighed in on LUV. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Southwest Airlines from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 20th. Vetr lowered shares of Southwest Airlines from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating and set a $54.06 price objective for the company. in a research note on Tuesday. Wolfe Research upgraded shares of Southwest Airlines from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research note on Friday, August 18th. Barclays restated a “hold” rating and set a $61.00 price objective on shares of Southwest Airlines in a research note on Thursday, September 14th. Finally, Cowen restated an “outperform” rating and set a $64.00 price objective (up from $62.00) on shares of Southwest Airlines in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $66.89.

The stock has a market capitalization of $37,240.00, a P/E ratio of 17.79, a P/E/G ratio of 2.05 and a beta of 1.34. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.46, a current ratio of 0.61 and a quick ratio of 0.55.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The airline reported $0.88 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.87 by $0.01. Southwest Airlines had a net margin of 10.12% and a return on equity of 24.85%. The firm had revenue of $5.27 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.29 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.93 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.6% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts anticipate that Southwest Airlines Company will post 3.56 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, January 4th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, December 7th will be paid a $0.125 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, December 6th. This represents a $0.50 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.79%. Southwest Airlines’s dividend payout ratio is presently 14.33%.

In other news, Director John T. Montford sold 935 shares of Southwest Airlines stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.94, for a total value of $50,433.90. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 25,000 shares in the company, valued at $1,348,500. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Insiders own 0.21% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in LUV. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. grew its position in Southwest Airlines by 11.2% during the second quarter. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. now owns 36,800 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $2,287,000 after buying an additional 3,700 shares during the period. Beach Investment Management LLC. grew its position in Southwest Airlines by 1,154.7% during the second quarter. Beach Investment Management LLC. now owns 286,941 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $17,831,000 after buying an additional 264,071 shares during the period. Tdam USA Inc. bought a new stake in Southwest Airlines during the second quarter valued at approximately $218,000. BP PLC bought a new stake in Southwest Airlines during the second quarter valued at approximately $1,119,000. Finally, Pioneer Investment Management Inc. grew its position in Southwest Airlines by 146.3% during the second quarter. Pioneer Investment Management Inc. now owns 443,585 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $27,564,000 after buying an additional 263,502 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 78.87% of the company’s stock.

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Southwest Airlines Company Profile

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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