Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE:ALK) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Alaska Air Group continues to be impacted by volatile fuel prices and risk of low demand. With the holiday season getting over in U.S., the company might face challenges in improving its top-line growth. However, one of the major concern for Alaska Air Group investors is the delay in close of the merger with Virgin America. We expect the company to give some details on the decision regarding the deal during third quarter earnings release on Oct 20. However, a lot depends on the review by U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ). Any further delay in closing the deal can make investors wary. “

Several other analysts also recently commented on ALK. Vetr upgraded shares of Alaska Air Group from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating and set a $81.75 price target for the company in a research report on Wednesday, September 7th. Imperial Capital assumed coverage on shares of Alaska Air Group in a research report on Friday, September 23rd. They issued an in-line rating and a $74.00 price target for the company. Buckingham Research upgraded shares of Alaska Air Group from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $84.00 price target for the company in a research report on Thursday, October 13th. Morgan Stanley reiterated a buy rating and issued a $85.00 price target on shares of Alaska Air Group in a research report on Thursday, August 11th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded shares of Alaska Air Group from a neutral rating to an overweight rating and set a $78.50 price target for the company in a research report on Wednesday, July 27th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating, ten have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $86.30.

Shares of Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) opened at 72.11 on Tuesday. The firm has a market cap of $8.88 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 9.98 and a beta of 0.88. Alaska Air Group has a 52-week low of $54.51 and a 52-week high of $87.17. The company’s 50-day moving average is $68.17 and its 200 day moving average is $67.54.

Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, July 21st. The company reported $2.12 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.09 by $0.03. Alaska Air Group had a net margin of 15.86% and a return on equity of 36.88%. The business earned $1.49 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.50 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $1.76 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that Alaska Air Group will post $7.05 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, VP Tamara S. Young sold 2,000 shares of Alaska Air Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $67.37, for a total transaction of $134,740.00. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 3,490 shares in the company, valued at $235,121.30. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, VP Brandon Pedersen sold 9,943 shares of Alaska Air Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.52, for a total transaction of $701,180.36. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 13,360 shares in the company, valued at approximately $942,147.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.68% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Eidelman Virant Capital increased its stake in Alaska Air Group by 8.8% in the third quarter. Eidelman Virant Capital now owns 348,000 shares of the company’s stock worth $598,000 after buying an additional 28,000 shares during the last quarter. BKD Wealth Advisors LLC increased its stake in Alaska Air Group by 0.4% in the third quarter. BKD Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 4,133 shares of the company’s stock worth $272,000 after buying an additional 18 shares during the last quarter. Parametrica Management Ltd bought a new stake in Alaska Air Group during the third quarter worth $227,000. Highland Capital Management LLC increased its stake in Alaska Air Group by 0.4% in the third quarter. Highland Capital Management LLC now owns 17,717 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,167,000 after buying an additional 70 shares during the last quarter. Finally, MSI Financial Services Inc increased its stake in Alaska Air Group by 13.1% in the third quarter. MSI Financial Services Inc now owns 4,140 shares of the company’s stock worth $273,000 after buying an additional 478 shares during the last quarter. 88.66% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Alaska Air Group Company Profile

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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:ALK

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