Investors who bought stocks during the COVID-19 market crash in 2020 have generally experienced some big gains in the past two years. But there is no question some big-name stocks performed better than others since the pandemic bottom.
Southwest Airlines' Bumpy Road: One company that has been an exciting investment in the last two years has been U.S.-based airline Southwest Airlines Co LUV.
Southwest and other travel stocks experienced a near worst-case scenario when the COVID-19 breakout occurred in early 2020.
There was essentially zero travel demand during the worst of the pandemic, as airlines and other travel companies completely shut down their businesses.
At the beginning of 2020, Southwest shares were trading at around $54. By the beginning of March, the stock had dropped to around $47 after news of the virus spreading in China prompted concerns about a U.S. pandemic. On March 27, airlines received $25 billion in federal bailouts. On May 6, Southwest shares dropped below $25. The stock ultimately bottomed at $22.47 on May 14.
Airlines got another $15 billion in government bailouts in December. By that time, vaccine optimism had boosted Southwest’s share price back up to above $46.
Southwest In 2022, Beyond: In mid-April 2021, Southwest shares hit a new multi-year high of $64.75 before pulling all the way back to $39.49 today. Inflation has airline stock investors concerned about how much consumers will be willing to spend on high-priced air travel.
Still, Southwest Airlines investors who bought one year ago and held on have generated a nice return on their investment. In fact, $1,000 in Southwest stock bought on May 14, 2020, would be worth about $1,593 today, assuming reinvested dividends.
Looking ahead, analysts are expecting Southwest's stock to gain altitude once again in the next 12 months. The average price target among the 16 analysts covering the stock is $50.50, suggesting 27.8% upside from current levels.
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