Alaska Air Group (ALK) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a research report report published on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Alaska Air Group have lost almost 8% in a year. Adding to the woes, the carrier revealed disappointing traffic data for March. Load factor (% of seats filled by passengers) declined as traffic growth was outweighed by capacity expansion. Moreover, high operating expenses are limiting bottom-line growth. As was the case over the past few quarters, high costs are likely to hurt earnings in first-quarter 2019 as well. Non-fuel unit costs are envisioned to increase approximately 3% in the soon-to-be-reported quarter. The southward movement of the Zacks Consensus Estimate for first-quarter earnings reveals the negative sentiment surrounding the stock. Detailed results should be out on Apr 25. However, the company’s efforts to reward its shareholders are impressive. In January 2019, it announced a 9.4% hike in quarterly dividend. Alaska Air Group’s initiatives to reduce debt levels are encouraging too.”

A number of other research firms also recently issued reports on ALK. Imperial Capital reaffirmed an outperform rating and set a $90.00 price target on shares of Alaska Air Group in a research note on Tuesday, January 15th. Vertical Research assumed coverage on shares of Alaska Air Group in a research note on Monday, February 4th. They set a hold rating on the stock. Macquarie raised shares of Alaska Air Group from a neutral rating to an outperform rating and set a $63.48 price target on the stock in a research note on Monday, January 28th. TheStreet downgraded shares of Alaska Air Group from a b- rating to a c rating in a research note on Thursday, January 24th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised shares of Alaska Air Group from an underweight rating to a neutral rating and set a $67.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Thursday, January 10th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating, eight have given a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the stock. Alaska Air Group presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $76.03.

Shares of NYSE:ALK opened at $61.67 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, a current ratio of 0.61 and a quick ratio of 0.59. Alaska Air Group has a fifty-two week low of $53.39 and a fifty-two week high of $74.83. The firm has a market cap of $7.62 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.83, a P/E/G ratio of 0.69 and a beta of 0.81.

Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, January 24th. The transportation company reported $0.75 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.73 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $2.06 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.06 billion. Alaska Air Group had a net margin of 5.29% and a return on equity of 15.20%. Alaska Air Group’s revenue was up 6.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.83 earnings per share. Research analysts anticipate that Alaska Air Group will post 6.05 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, VP Christopher Michael Berry sold 750 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, February 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $67.14, for a total value of $50,355.00. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 1,233 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $82,783.62. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Andrew R. Harrison sold 4,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, February 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.93, for a total transaction of $251,720.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 22,167 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,394,969.31. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 8,776 shares of company stock worth $551,687. Insiders own 0.43% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in ALK. We Are One Seven LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Alaska Air Group in the fourth quarter valued at $34,000. North Star Investment Management Corp. purchased a new position in Alaska Air Group in the 4th quarter worth about $49,000. Enlightenment Research LLC purchased a new position in Alaska Air Group in the 4th quarter worth about $61,000. Legacy Financial Advisors Inc. increased its stake in Alaska Air Group by 134.4% in the 4th quarter. Legacy Financial Advisors Inc. now owns 1,261 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $77,000 after buying an additional 723 shares during the period. Finally, Bremer Trust National Association purchased a new position in Alaska Air Group in the 4th quarter worth about $94,000. 88.30% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Alaska Air Group

Alaska Air Group, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides passenger and cargo air transportation services. The company operates through three segments: Mainline, Regional, and Horizon. It has a network of approximately 1,200 daily flights to 115 destinations across the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica.

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