Southwest Airlines Company (NYSE:LUV) was upgraded by investment analysts at Wolfe Research from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research report issued on Friday, The Fly reports.

Several other analysts also recently weighed in on LUV. Morgan Stanley restated an “overweight” rating and set a $66.00 target price (up previously from $65.00) on shares of Southwest Airlines in a research note on Monday, July 10th. BidaskClub downgraded Southwest Airlines from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 12th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Southwest Airlines from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 target price for the company in a research note on Tuesday, July 4th. Sanford C. Bernstein restated an “outperform” rating and set a $70.00 target price on shares of Southwest Airlines in a research note on Thursday, July 13th. Finally, Bank of America Corporation increased their target price on Southwest Airlines from $62.00 to $75.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, June 30th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating, twelve have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $65.66.

Southwest Airlines (LUV) traded up 0.04% during trading on Friday, hitting $53.17. The stock had a trading volume of 6,061,487 shares. The company has a market cap of $31.83 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.30 and a beta of 1.26. The company has a 50 day moving average of $58.49 and a 200-day moving average of $57.27. Southwest Airlines has a 12-month low of $36.05 and a 12-month high of $64.39.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The airline reported $1.24 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.20 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $5.74 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.73 billion. Southwest Airlines had a return on equity of 26.07% and a net margin of 9.63%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.19 EPS. On average, equities analysts predict that Southwest Airlines will post $3.80 EPS for the current year.

Southwest Airlines declared that its board has approved a stock buyback program on Wednesday, May 17th that authorizes the company to buyback $2.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the airline to reacquire up to 5.8% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

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In related news, EVP Jeff Lamb sold 19,800 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.00, for a total transaction of $1,207,800.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 92,468 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,640,548. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, CFO Tammy Romo sold 8,322 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $59.15, for a total value of $492,246.30. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 87,387 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,168,941.05. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 47,218 shares of company stock valued at $2,838,204 in the last 90 days. 0.21% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd increased its position in Southwest Airlines by 1.4% in the first quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd now owns 50,407 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $2,709,000 after buying an additional 680 shares during the period. Palisade Capital Management LLC NJ bought a new position in Southwest Airlines during the first quarter valued at approximately $269,000. DnB Asset Management AS bought a new position in Southwest Airlines during the first quarter valued at approximately $697,000. Boston Advisors LLC bought a new position in Southwest Airlines during the first quarter valued at approximately $2,454,000. Finally, Moody National Bank Trust Division bought a new position in Southwest Airlines during the first quarter valued at approximately $466,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 80.58% of the company’s stock.

About Southwest Airlines

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.

The Fly

Analyst Recommendations for Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV)

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