Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan decreased its stake in Southwest Airlines Company (NYSE:LUV) by 26.9% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The firm owned 19,770 shares of the airline’s stock after selling 7,270 shares during the period. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan’s holdings in Southwest Airlines were worth $1,229,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

Several other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in Southwest Airlines by 0.7% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 38,498,787 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $2,069,695,000 after buying an additional 286,456 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in Southwest Airlines by 4,163.3% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 34,983,319 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $1,880,703,000 after buying an additional 34,162,752 shares during the period. State Street Corp boosted its stake in Southwest Airlines by 1.5% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 23,480,558 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $1,262,308,000 after buying an additional 353,960 shares during the period. Egerton Capital UK LLP boosted its stake in Southwest Airlines by 39.0% in the first quarter. Egerton Capital UK LLP now owns 9,401,341 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $505,416,000 after buying an additional 2,638,743 shares during the period. Finally, Ameriprise Financial Inc. boosted its stake in Southwest Airlines by 80.3% in the first quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 7,809,175 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $419,796,000 after buying an additional 3,477,912 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 80.34% of the company’s stock.

Southwest Airlines Company (NYSE:LUV) opened at 54.81 on Wednesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $32.81 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.81 and a beta of 1.26. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $60.45 and a 200 day moving average price of $57.02. Southwest Airlines Company has a 52 week low of $36.05 and a 52 week high of $64.39.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The airline reported $1.24 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.20 by $0.04. Southwest Airlines had a net margin of 9.63% and a return on equity of 26.07%. The business had revenue of $5.74 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.73 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.19 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 6.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Southwest Airlines Company will post $3.80 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Southwest Airlines announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share buyback program on Wednesday, May 17th that permits the company to buyback $2.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the airline to reacquire up to 5.8% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 14th. Investors of record on Thursday, August 24th will be given a dividend of $0.125 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, August 22nd. This represents a $0.50 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.91%. Southwest Airlines’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 15.34%.

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LUV has been the topic of several research reports. Sanford C. Bernstein restated an “outperform” rating and set a $70.00 price target on shares of Southwest Airlines in a report on Thursday, July 13th. BidaskClub cut Southwest Airlines from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 12th. Zacks Investment Research cut Southwest Airlines from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 1st. Vetr upgraded Southwest Airlines from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $64.21 price target on the stock in a report on Tuesday, June 27th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Southwest Airlines from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, June 2nd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating, eleven have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Southwest Airlines presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $65.78.

In related news, Chairman Gary C. Kelly sold 51,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.06, for a total transaction of $2,910,060.00. Following the sale, the chairman now owns 556,808 shares in the company, valued at $31,771,464.48. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Jeff Lamb sold 19,800 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.00, for a total transaction of $1,207,800.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 92,468 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,640,548. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 118,740 shares of company stock worth $6,923,568. 0.21% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

About Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines Co (Southwest) operates Southwest Airlines, a passenger airline that provides scheduled air transportation in the United States and near-international markets. The Company provides point-to-point service. The Company offers ancillary service offerings, such as Southwest’s EarlyBird Check-In and transportation of pets and unaccompanied minors, in accordance with Southwest’s respective policies.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV)

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