Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) Shares Tick Up after Upgrade at Vetr Inc.

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) shares rose in value early today on lighter trade volume than normal after a number of analysts weighed in on the investing value of the stock with a upgraded rating.

Analysts at Vetr Inc. upgraded shares of Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) from Buy to Strong-Buy today. With a rating of Strong-Buy on the shares, the company has a 52-week high of $51.34. The one-year price target of $48.25 is above the opening price of $38.50, resulting a fair amount of other analysts to comment on the stock recently. Share prices sometimes get a boost to the upside when analysts upgrade a stock.

Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures on Monday pointed to a higher open, as investors prepared for the start of earnings season

S&P 500 futures ESZ6, +0.44% rose by 9 points, or 0.4%, to 2,155.50, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMZ6, +0.40% gained 64 points, or 0.4%, to 18,221.

Nasdaq-100 futures NQZ6, +0.42% tacked on 17.75 points, or 0.4%, to 4,876.75.Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures on Monday pointed to a higher open, as investors prepared for the start of earnings season

Shares of Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) opened at $38.50 yesterday trading between $38.46 and $39.00, and last traded at $38.92, which represents a jump of $0.45 or 0.01 over the previous closing price.

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) now has a market cap of 24.14B.

Southwest Airlines Co.Trading Volume

The stock’s average daily volume is 7,102,080 shares out of a total float 619,035,000 and some 733,793 shares traded hands yesterday, lower than the average. Investors often use increases in trading volume to determine large volume growth or circulation by institutional investors, so trading volume is likely to increase in the next few days.

As with all potential breakouts, investors watch for volume to be at least 40%-50% greater than normal on the breakout to demonstrate that fund managers and other professional investors are jumping in.

Institutional sponsorship is defined by ownership of a stock by mutual funds, banks, pension funds and other large institutions.

Institutional investors such as these retain teams of analysts that investigate thousands of stocks, so it is good validation to see them buying a stock you are researching.

Southwest Airlines Co. Moving Averages

A moving average can also act as support or resistance. In an uptrend a 50-day, 100-day or 200-day moving average may act as a support level, as shown in the figure below.

This is because the average acts like a floor (support), so the price bounces up off of it.

In a downtrend a moving average may act as resistance; like a ceiling, the price hits it and then starts to drop again.

By spotting trends, moving averages allow investors to make those trends work in their favor and increase the number of winning trades.

Trades for Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) have ranged from $33.96 – 51.34, and the stock now has a 50-day MA of $37.46 and 200-day MA of $40.56. Today’s last price is 0.24% lower than the 52 week high of $51.34.

Indeed, earnings growth is among the most critical things to look at in regards to stock investing and, accordingly, investors seek companies that have raised their earnings by at least 25% for a 3 year period.

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