Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. boosted its stake in Southwest Airlines Company (NYSE:LUV) by 15.2% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 7,570 shares of the airline’s stock after buying an additional 1,000 shares during the period. Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd.’s holdings in Southwest Airlines were worth $470,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America increased its position in shares of Southwest Airlines by 0.6% in the first quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 2,374 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $128,000 after buying an additional 15 shares during the last quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp increased its position in shares of Southwest Airlines by 6.6% in the first quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 2,502 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $135,000 after buying an additional 154 shares during the last quarter. National Pension Service purchased a new position in shares of Southwest Airlines during the second quarter valued at approximately $141,000. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC increased its position in shares of Southwest Airlines by 88.9% in the first quarter. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC now owns 2,821 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $152,000 after buying an additional 1,328 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Farmers & Merchants Investments Inc. increased its position in shares of Southwest Airlines by 2.9% in the second quarter. Farmers & Merchants Investments Inc. now owns 2,632 shares of the airline’s stock valued at $164,000 after buying an additional 75 shares during the last quarter. 80.34% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of Southwest Airlines Company (NYSE:LUV) opened at 54.69 on Thursday. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $59.97 and its 200-day moving average is $57.17. The company has a market cap of $32.74 billion, a PE ratio of 16.77 and a beta of 1.26. Southwest Airlines Company has a one year low of $36.05 and a one year high of $64.39.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) last announced 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. The firm had revenue of $5.74 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.73 billion. Southwest Airlines had a return on equity of 26.07% and a net margin of 9.63%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.19 earnings per share. Equities research analysts expect that Southwest Airlines Company will post $3.80 earnings per share for the current year.

Southwest Airlines announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase plan on Wednesday, May 17th that authorizes the company to buyback $2.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the airline to buy up to 5.8% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are usually an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

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

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Several brokerages recently commented on LUV. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $80.00 target price on shares of Southwest Airlines in a research note on Friday, May 26th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Southwest Airlines from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $68.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, June 6th. Argus raised shares of Southwest Airlines from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their target price for the stock from $61.76 to $68.00 in a research note on Thursday, June 22nd. Wolfe Research downgraded shares of Southwest Airlines from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $63.00 target price on the stock. in a research note on Monday, July 10th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Cowen and Company reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $67.00 target price on shares of Southwest Airlines in a research note on Friday, July 28th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating, eleven have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Southwest Airlines currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $65.78.

In other news, EVP Gregory D. Wells sold 5,249 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, May 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $57.65, for a total transaction of $302,604.85. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 16,458 shares in the company, valued at $948,803.70. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, Chairman Gary C. Kelly sold 51,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.06, for a total value of $2,910,060.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 556,808 shares in the company, valued at approximately $31,771,464.48. 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. Insiders own 0.21% of the company’s stock.

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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