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Shares of Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) were the target of a significant increase in short interest during the month of July. As of July 31st, there was short interest totalling 14,808,922 shares, an increase of 29.7% from the July 15th total of 11,421,552 shares, Analyst Ratings.Net reports. Based on an average trading volume of 5,977,016 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 2.5 days. Approximately 2.2% of the shares of the stock are sold short.

In other Southwest Airlines news, EVP Ron Ricks sold 37,400 shares of the company’s stock on the open market in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $28.22, for a total value of $1,055,428.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link.

LUV has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Analysts at Zacks reiterated an “outperform” rating on shares of Southwest Airlines in a research note on Friday, August 8th. They now have a $34.00 price target on the stock. Separately, analysts at Argus raised their price target on shares of Southwest Airlines from $28.00 to $34.00 in a research note on Thursday, July 31st. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock. Finally, analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised their price target on shares of Southwest Airlines from $26.00 to $29.50 in a research note on Thursday, July 31st. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Southwest Airlines currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $31.71.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) opened at 29.75 on Friday. Southwest Airlines has a 52-week low of $12.64 and a 52-week high of $29.76. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $28.05 and its 200-day moving average is $24.95. The company has a market cap of $20.383 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.91.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, July 24th. The company reported $0.70 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.60 by $0.10. The company had revenue of $5.01 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.92 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.38 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 7.9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts predict that Southwest Airlines will post $1.78 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Friday, September 12th. Investors of record on Thursday, August 21st will be paid a dividend of $0.06 per share. This represents a $0.24 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.82%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, August 19th.

Southwest Airlines Co operates Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways, passenger airlines that provide scheduled air transportation in the United States and near-international markets.

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