Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE:ALK) shares gapped up prior to trading on Thursday . The stock had previously closed at $64.43, but opened at $64.84. Alaska Air Group shares last traded at $66.46, with a volume of 738,793 shares changing hands.

A number of research firms have issued reports on ALK. Morgan Stanley reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $85.00 price objective on shares of Alaska Air Group in a report on Thursday. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised shares of Alaska Air Group from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and set a $78.50 price objective for the company in a report on Wednesday, July 27th. Credit Suisse Group AG raised shares of Alaska Air Group from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and boosted their price objective for the company from $70.00 to $85.00 in a report on Monday, July 25th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Alaska Air Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, June 22nd. Finally, Cowen and Company reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Alaska Air Group in a report on Wednesday, June 15th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating, nine have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $88.23.

The stock’s 50-day moving average is $63.12 and its 200 day moving average is $69.85. The firm has a market capitalization of $8.05 billion and a PE ratio of 9.05.

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, topping the consensus estimate of $2.09 by $0.03. The business earned $1.49 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.50 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.76 EPS. Alaska Air Group’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts predict that Alaska Air Group Inc. will post $7.03 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 1st. Stockholders of record on Thursday, August 18th will be paid a $0.275 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, August 16th. This represents a $1.10 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.68%.

In other news, VP Tamara S. Young sold 1,859 shares of Alaska Air Group stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.77, for a total value of $124,125.43. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 3,490 shares in the company, valued at $233,027.30. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Dennis F. Madsen sold 1,372 shares of Alaska Air Group stock in a transaction dated Thursday, June 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.98, for a total transaction of $90,524.56. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 22,914 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,511,865.72. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Several institutional investors have bought and sold shares of the company. Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its position in Alaska Air Group by 1.0% in the fourth quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 407,830 shares of the company’s stock valued at $32,835,000 after buying an additional 4,172 shares during the last quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department boosted its position in shares of Alaska Air Group by 22.6% in the fourth quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department now owns 379,330 shares of the company’s stock valued at $30,540,000 after buying an additional 70,000 shares in the last quarter. Westfield Capital Management Co. LP purchased a new position in shares of Alaska Air Group during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $16,625,000. Advisors Asset Management Inc. boosted its position in shares of Alaska Air Group by 43.7% in the fourth quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 37,607 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,028,000 after buying an additional 11,440 shares in the last quarter. Finally, KBC Group NV boosted its position in shares of Alaska Air Group by 57.5% in the fourth quarter. KBC Group NV now owns 35,601 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,866,000 after buying an additional 12,994 shares in the last quarter.

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.

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