Published On: Sat, Sep 10th, 2016

Alaska Air Group Inc. (ALK) Upgraded to Strong-Buy at Vetr Inc.

Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE:ALK) was upgraded by equities research analysts at Vetr from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday. The firm currently has a $81.75 target price on the stock. Vetr‘s price target would suggest a potential upside of 18.72% from the company’s previous close.
Several other brokerages have also commented on ALK. Cowen and Company initiated coverage on Alaska Air Group in a report on Monday, May 16th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $89.00 price objective for the company. Sterne Agee CRT reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Alaska Air Group in a report on Monday, May 16th. Raymond James Financial Inc. lowered Alaska Air Group from a “strong-buy” rating to an “outperform” rating and cut their price objective for the stock from $105.00 to $88.00 in a report on Tuesday, June 14th. Morgan Stanley reissued an “overweight” rating on shares of Alaska Air Group in a report on Wednesday, June 15th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered Alaska Air Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, June 22nd. Six analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, nine have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $87.71.
Shares of Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) traded down 3.45% on Wednesday, reaching $68.86. 1,359,268 shares of the company were exchanged. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $67.03 and its 200 day moving average is $69.72. Alaska Air Group has a 12-month low of $54.51 and a 12-month high of $87.17. The firm has a market capitalization of $8.48 billion, a PE ratio of 9.53 and a beta of 0.85.

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Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, July 21st. The company reported $2.12 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.09 by $0.03. The business earned $1.49 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.50 billion. Alaska Air Group had a return on equity of 36.88% and a net margin of 15.86%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 4.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.76 EPS. On average, analysts forecast that Alaska Air Group will post $7.03 EPS for the current year.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 1st. Investors of record on Thursday, August 18th were issued a dividend of $0.275 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, August 16th. This represents a $1.10 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.60%. Alaska Air Group’s dividend payout ratio is presently 15.26%.
In related news, CEO Bradley D. Tilden sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, June 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $60.11, for a total transaction of $300,550.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 23,900 shares in the company, valued at $1,436,629. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, VP Brandon Pedersen sold 9,943 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.52, for a total value of $701,180.36. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 13,360 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $942,147.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.68% of the company’s stock.
Other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Nuveen Asset Management LLC increased its position in Alaska Air Group by 28.2% in the first quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 380,230 shares of the company’s stock worth $31,186,000 after buying an additional 83,630 shares during the period. Geode Capital Management LLC increased its position in Alaska Air Group by 3.8% in the first quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 819,428 shares of the company’s stock worth $67,209,000 after buying an additional 30,102 shares during the period. First Republic Investment Management Inc. increased its position in Alaska Air Group by 22.5% in the first quarter. First Republic Investment Management Inc. now owns 8,722 shares of the company’s stock worth $715,000 after buying an additional 1,602 shares during the period. Sheaff Brock Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Alaska Air Group during the fourth quarter worth about $2,639,000. Finally, A.R.T. Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Alaska Air Group during the first quarter worth about $2,528,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 89.46% of the company’s stock.
About Alaska Air Group
Alaska Air Group, Inc is the holding company of Alaska Airlines (Alaska) and Horizon Air (Horizon). The Company operates through three segments: Alaska Mainline, Alaska Regional and Horizon. Its Alaska Mainline segment operates the Boeing 737 part of Alaska’s business. It offers north/south service within the western United States, Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica, as well as passenger and dedicated cargo services to and within the state of Alaska.
To view Vetr’s full report, visit Vetr’s official website.

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