Southwest Airlines Company LUV has reported a substantial rise in traffic figures for January. Traffic (measured in revenue passenger miles or RPMs) rose 4% to around 9.73 billion in the month. Meanwhile, capacity or available seat miles (ASMs) inched up 1.9% to 12.5 billion.
Load factor (percentage of seats filled by passengers) improved 150 basis points to 77.8% in the month as traffic growth outpaced capacity expansion. Additionally, passenger count increased 6% to 11.99 billion.
The robust traffic report comes close on the heels of an impressive performance dished out by the company in the final quarter of 2017, having reported better-than-expected earnings per share and revenues. Moreover, earnings and revenues improved significantly year over year. Robust growth in passenger revenues on the back of strong demand for air travel, aided the top line.
For the first quarter of 2018, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company expects revenue per available seat mile (RASM) to rise between 1% and 2%. First-quarter unit costs excluding fuel and oil expense, profit-sharing expense and special items are estimated to grow in the band of 0.5-1.5%. While economic fuel costs for the period are predicted in the range of $2.10-$2.15 per gallon. For 2018, the metric is anticipated in the same range, reflecting a 2% increase from the year-ago figure. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Southwest Airlines Company Price
Southwest Airlines Company Price | Southwest Airlines Company Quote
Other key airline players like United Continental Holdings UAL, American Airlines AAL and Alaska Air Group ALK also recently announced fourth-quarter earnings results. While United Continental and American Airlines reported better-than-expected earnings, Alaska Air Group posted in-line earnings but higher-than-expected revenues in the reported quarter.
Will You Make a Fortune on the Shift to Electric Cars?
Here's another stock idea to consider. Much like petroleum 150 years ago, lithium power may soon shake the world, creating millionaires and reshaping geo-politics. Soon electric vehicles (EVs) may be cheaper than gas guzzlers. Some are already reaching 265 miles on a single charge.
With battery prices plummeting and charging stations set to multiply, one company stands out as the #1 stock to buy according to Zacks research.
It's not the one you think.
See This Ticker Free >>
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
Southwest Airlines Company (LUV) : Free Stock Analysis Report
United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
American Airlines Group, Inc. (AAL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Alaska Air Group, Inc. (ALK) : Free Stock Analysis Report
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
Zacks Investment Research