Southwest Stock Takes Off on Union Pay Cut Request

The equity is up over 17% in the last six months

Digital Content Manager
Oct 6, 2020 at 10:14 AM
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The shares of Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV) are up 0.6% at $38.73 this morning, after the company asked unions, which represent roughly 61,000 Southwest employees, to agree to pay cuts in order to prevent furloughs and layoffs through 2021. The request comes as the airline industry continues to struggle with losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the absence of additional federal aid, which is still pending in Congress.

On the charts, despite multiple attempts since early this year, the security has failed to break out above the $42 level. Regardless, shares are still faring much better than their May, six-year low near $22. Now, LUV is fighting overhead pressure at the $40 mark, with the 80-day moving average ready to contain any pullbacks. What's more, Southwest stock sports a 17.5%, six-month lead.

Analysts are optimistic towards Southwest stock, with 12 of the 16 in coverage sporting a "strong buy" rating, and the remaining four carrying a tepid "hold." Echoing this is the 12-month consensus target price of $44.51, which is a 15.6% premium to its current perch. 

That optimism is reflected in the options pits, where calls are popular. LUV sports a 50-day call/put volume ratio of 5.69 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) that sits in the highest percentile of its annual range. This suggests a healthier-than-usual appetite for bullish bets of late.

Lastly, investors looking to get in on the stock's next move should consider options. The equity's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 59% sits in the relatively low 22nd percentile of its annual range. In other words, option traders are pricing in relatively low volatility expectations at the moment.

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