Alaska Air Group (ALK) Rating Lowered to Strong Sell at Zacks Investment Research

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Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note issued 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 analysts have also recently commented on the stock. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded shares of Alaska Air Group from an “underweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $67.00 target price on the stock in a report on Thursday, January 10th. Buckingham Research dropped their target price on shares of Alaska Air Group from $88.00 to $80.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, March 8th. Imperial Capital restated an “outperform” rating and set a $90.00 target price on shares of Alaska Air Group in a report on Tuesday, January 15th. Citigroup dropped their target price on shares of Alaska Air Group from $74.00 to $65.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, March 6th. Finally, TheStreet cut shares of Alaska Air Group from a “b-” rating to a “c” rating in a report on Thursday, January 24th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating, eight have assigned a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $76.03.

Shares of Alaska Air Group stock opened at $60.06 on Tuesday. The company has a current ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 0.59 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43. The firm has a market cap of $7.42 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.47 and a beta of 0.81. Alaska Air Group has a 12-month low of $53.39 and a 12-month high of $74.83.

Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, January 24th. The transportation company reported $0.75 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.73 by $0.02. Alaska Air Group had a net margin of 5.29% and a return on equity of 15.20%. The firm had revenue of $2.06 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.06 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.83 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 6.3% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that Alaska Air Group will post 6.09 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Alaska Air Group news, VP Brandon Pedersen sold 4,026 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.00, for a total value of $249,612.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 26,524 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,644,488. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, VP Christopher Michael Berry sold 750 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, February 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $67.14, for a total value of $50,355.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 1,233 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $82,783.62. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 8,776 shares of company stock worth $551,687. 0.43% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ALK. We Are One Seven LLC purchased a new stake in Alaska Air Group in the 4th quarter worth approximately $34,000. North Star Investment Management Corp. purchased a new stake in Alaska Air Group in the 4th quarter worth approximately $49,000. Enlightenment Research LLC purchased a new stake in Alaska Air Group in the 4th quarter worth approximately $61,000. Legacy Financial Advisors Inc. increased its holdings 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 acquiring an additional 723 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bremer Trust National Association purchased a new stake in Alaska Air Group in the 4th quarter worth approximately $94,000. 88.30% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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