SkyWest Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Friday. The firm currently has a $42.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target would indicate a potential upside of 15.54% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “SkyWest, Inc., through its wholly-owned subsidiary, SkyWest Airlines, Inc. , operates one of the larger regional airlines in the United States. SkyWest provides passenger and air freight service and completes over 880 daily flights. Pursuant to a joint marketing and code sharing agreement with Delta Airlines, Inc., SkyWest operates as a Delta Connection in certain SkyWest markets. SkyWest entered into a marketing and code sharing agreement with Continental Airlines, Inc. Which allows SkyWest to operate as a Continental Connection in certain markets in and out of Los Angeles. “

Separately, Deutsche Bank AG increased their price objective on shares of SkyWest from $32.00 to $34.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, October 28th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $30.80.

SkyWest (NASDAQ:SKYW) opened at 36.35 on Friday. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $30.53 and its 200 day moving average is $27.49. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.88 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.71 and a beta of 1.68. SkyWest has a 12-month low of $13.23 and a 12-month high of $36.75.

SkyWest (NASDAQ:SKYW) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 27th. The company reported $0.90 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.81 by $0.09. SkyWest had a net margin of 4.79% and a return on equity of 8.94%. The company had revenue of $799.78 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $795.89 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.71 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .7% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts predict that SkyWest will post $2.71 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, January 6th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 30th will be paid a $0.05 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, December 28th. This represents a $0.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.55%. SkyWest’s dividend payout ratio is currently 6.99%.

In other news, COO Michael B. Thompson sold 7,899 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $28.50, for a total transaction of $225,121.50. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Henry J. Eyring sold 6,267 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, December 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $11.49, for a total transaction of $72,007.83. Following the transaction, the director now owns 35,549 shares in the company, valued at $408,458.01. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 4.00% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan increased its position in SkyWest by 0.8% in the third quarter. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan now owns 23,000 shares of the company’s stock worth $607,000 after buying an additional 190 shares in the last quarter. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System increased its position in SkyWest by 0.9% in the second quarter. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System now owns 22,800 shares of the company’s stock worth $603,000 after buying an additional 200 shares in the last quarter. Anchor Capital Advisors LLC increased its position in SkyWest by 0.6% in the second quarter. Anchor Capital Advisors LLC now owns 42,000 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,111,000 after buying an additional 257 shares in the last quarter. PineBridge Investments L.P. increased its position in SkyWest by 4.3% in the second quarter. PineBridge Investments L.P. now owns 6,517 shares of the company’s stock worth $172,000 after buying an additional 271 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Capital One National Association increased its position in SkyWest by 4.1% in the third quarter. Capital One National Association now owns 9,599 shares of the company’s stock worth $254,000 after buying an additional 376 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 86.25% of the company’s stock.

About SkyWest

Skywest, Inc is a holding company for approximately two scheduled passenger airline operations and an aircraft leasing company. The Company operates through two segments: SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet. SkyWest Airlines provides regional jet and turboprop service to airports located in the Midwestern and Western United States.

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