Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Aircastle (NYSE:AYR) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report released on Tuesday morning. The firm currently has $24.00 target price on the transportation company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “AIRCASTLE LTD are a global company that acquires and leases high utility commercial jet aircraft to passenger and cargo airlines throughout the world. High utility aircraft are generally modern, operationally efficient jets with a large operator base and long useful lives. They also make investments in other aviation assets, including debt securities secured by commercial jet aircraft. “

Several other research firms have also issued reports on AYR. ValuEngine upgraded Aircastle from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, September 27th. Cowen upgraded Aircastle from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and increased their price objective for the stock from $24.00 to $26.00 in a research note on Thursday, September 27th. Seven investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $24.71.

Aircastle stock opened at $19.79 on Tuesday. Aircastle has a 52-week low of $18.97 and a 52-week high of $25.30. The firm has a market cap of $1.71 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 10.58, a P/E/G ratio of 0.98 and a beta of 1.79.

Aircastle (NYSE:AYR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, August 7th. The transportation company reported $0.67 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.14. Aircastle had a return on equity of 11.70% and a net margin of 28.40%. The firm had revenue of $204.28 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $194.60 million. Equities analysts anticipate that Aircastle will post 2.25 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 14th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 31st were paid a $0.28 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 30th. This represents a $1.12 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 5.66%. Aircastle’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 59.89%.

In other news, Director Ronald Merriman sold 7,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $21.26, for a total value of $159,450.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 21,024 shares in the company, valued at $446,970.24. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Company insiders own 1.80% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. SG Americas Securities LLC increased its stake in shares of Aircastle by 69.9% in the second quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 10,128 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $208,000 after buying an additional 4,168 shares in the last quarter. Swiss National Bank increased its stake in shares of Aircastle by 4.7% in the first quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 95,900 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $1,905,000 after buying an additional 4,300 shares in the last quarter. GAM Holding AG increased its stake in shares of Aircastle by 13.7% in the second quarter. GAM Holding AG now owns 44,918 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $921,000 after buying an additional 5,402 shares in the last quarter. James Investment Research Inc. increased its stake in shares of Aircastle by 7.1% in the second quarter. James Investment Research Inc. now owns 104,597 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $2,144,000 after buying an additional 6,915 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Nisa Investment Advisors LLC increased its stake in shares of Aircastle by 23.5% in the second quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 42,100 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $863,000 after buying an additional 8,000 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 57.84% of the company’s stock.

Aircastle Company Profile

Aircastle Limited, through its subsidiaries, leases, finances, sells, and manages commercial flight equipment to airlines worldwide. The company also invests in other aviation assets. As of December 31, 2017, its aircraft portfolio comprised 236 aircraft leased to 81 lessees located in 43 countries. Aircastle Limited was founded in 2004 and is based in Stamford, Connecticut.

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