Alaska Air Group (ALK) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Strong Sell”

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a report released on Tuesday morning, 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.”

ALK has been the topic of several other reports. Vertical Research started coverage on Alaska Air Group in a research report on Monday, February 4th. They issued a hold rating on the stock. Buckingham Research lowered their price objective on Alaska Air Group from $88.00 to $80.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, March 8th. Citigroup lowered their price objective on Alaska Air Group from $74.00 to $65.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, March 6th. ValuEngine cut Alaska Air Group from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, March 5th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised 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. One research 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 company. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $76.03.

Shares of Alaska Air Group stock opened at $60.97 on Tuesday. Alaska Air Group has a 52 week low of $53.39 and a 52 week high of $74.83. The stock has a market capitalization of $7.42 billion, a PE ratio of 13.67, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.69 and a beta of 0.81. The company has a current ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 0.59 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43.

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

In other Alaska Air Group news, VP Christopher Michael Berry sold 750 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $67.14, for a total transaction of $50,355.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 1,233 shares in the company, valued at $82,783.62. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, EVP Andrew R. Harrison sold 4,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, February 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.93, for a total value of $251,720.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 22,167 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,394,969.31. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 8,776 shares of company stock worth $551,687 over the last three months. 0.43% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

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

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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