Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Alaska Air Group have outperformed its industry  over the past three months. The company is being aided by the rise in passenger revenues, which increased 4% in the first half of the year. Moreover,  due to better close-in pricing environment in the July-September period, the company issued an improved projection for third-quarter unit revenues, while releasing its August traffic report. The company's efforts to expand its presence are encouraging as well. We are also impressed by the company’s efforts to reward shareholders through dividends and buybacks. However, high fuel and labor costs are limiting bottom-line growth. Woes related to capacity also represent a major major challenge for the company.”

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the stock. TheStreet upgraded shares of Alaska Air Group from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 19th. Buckingham Research reduced their target price on shares of Alaska Air Group from $84.00 to $83.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research note on Monday. Stifel Nicolaus reduced their target price on shares of Alaska Air Group from $110.00 to $100.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research note on Friday, July 27th. Barclays reduced their target price on shares of Alaska Air Group from $80.00 to $68.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a research note on Monday, July 16th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded shares of Alaska Air Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, July 30th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating, six have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Alaska Air Group presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $77.42.

NYSE ALK opened at $67.12 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.56, a current ratio of 0.73 and a quick ratio of 0.71. Alaska Air Group has a twelve month low of $57.53 and a twelve month high of $82.68. The stock has a market capitalization of $8.29 billion, a P/E ratio of 10.16, a P/E/G ratio of 2.33 and a beta of 0.57.

Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) last released its earnings results on Thursday, July 26th. The transportation company reported $1.66 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.63 by $0.03. Alaska Air Group had a net margin of 10.28% and a return on equity of 16.99%. The business had revenue of $2.16 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.16 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $2.48 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 2.6% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts anticipate that Alaska Air Group will post 4.17 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Alaska Air Group news, EVP Shane R. Tackett sold 3,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.81, for a total transaction of $200,430.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 8,238 shares in the company, valued at $550,380.78. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.56% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Vident Investment Advisory LLC raised its stake in shares of Alaska Air Group by 23.0% in the second quarter. Vident Investment Advisory LLC now owns 4,699 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $284,000 after acquiring an additional 879 shares during the last quarter. BancorpSouth Bank raised its stake in shares of Alaska Air Group by 12.5% in the second quarter. BancorpSouth Bank now owns 7,989 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $482,000 after acquiring an additional 885 shares during the last quarter. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Alaska Air Group by 38.5% in the second quarter. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. now owns 3,238 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $196,000 after acquiring an additional 900 shares during the last quarter. Mitchell Capital Management Co. raised its stake in shares of Alaska Air Group by 14.5% in the second quarter. Mitchell Capital Management Co. now owns 7,214 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $436,000 after acquiring an additional 916 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Gibraltar Capital Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Alaska Air Group by 1.2% in the second quarter. Gibraltar Capital Management Inc. now owns 93,510 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $5,647,000 after acquiring an additional 1,079 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 88.71% of the company’s stock.

About Alaska Air Group

Alaska Air Group, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides passengers and cargo air transportation services. It also focuses on providing ground and ramp handling services to airlines. The company operates through three segments: Mainline, Regional, and Horizon. It has a network of approximately 1,200 daily flights to 118 destinations across the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica.

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