Azul (NYSE:AZUL) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Monday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Azul is being aided by robust passenger revenues on the back of upbeat demand for air travel. Maintaining this trend, passenger revenues increased 17.9% on a year-over-year basis during 2018. The same is expected to be strong through the rest of 2019 as well. Clearly the company’s first-quarter 2019 results should benefit from this tailwind. Detailed results will be available on May 9. The company’s fleet modernization efforts are also encouraging. It operates a young fleet with average age of 5.6 years. The company's acceleration of fleet renewal and modernization plan for 2019 is another positive. Despite such upsides, high costs and devaluation of the Brazilian currency are major headwinds for the company. We are also concerned about the company's high-debt levels. In fact, shares of the company have declined more than 6% so far this year against the industry's 12.6% rally.”

A number of other equities research analysts also recently commented on the company. Morgan Stanley raised Azul from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 10th. Buckingham Research lifted their price objective on Azul from $37.00 to $42.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, March 19th. Finally, UBS Group downgraded Azul from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 17th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Azul has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $33.02.

Shares of NYSE:AZUL opened at $26.06 on Monday. The firm has a market capitalization of $8.33 billion, a PE ratio of 16.39 and a beta of -0.65. The company has a quick ratio of 0.82, a current ratio of 0.87 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.07. Azul has a 52 week low of $15.53 and a 52 week high of $34.09.

Azul (NYSE:AZUL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, March 14th. The company reported $0.31 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.48 by ($0.17). The business had revenue of $651.43 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $692.03 million. Azul had a net margin of 4.70% and a return on equity of 14.15%. On average, research analysts anticipate that Azul will post 2.12 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of AZUL. Nordea Investment Management AB purchased a new stake in Azul during the third quarter valued at about $30,260,000. Norges Bank purchased a new stake in Azul during the fourth quarter valued at about $36,801,000. Zweig DiMenna Associates LLC grew its position in Azul by 338.6% during the fourth quarter. Zweig DiMenna Associates LLC now owns 1,425,526 shares of the company’s stock valued at $39,473,000 after acquiring an additional 1,100,526 shares during the period. SPX Equities Gestao de Recursos Ltda grew its position in Azul by 820.7% during the fourth quarter. SPX Equities Gestao de Recursos Ltda now owns 734,795 shares of the company’s stock valued at $20,346,000 after acquiring an additional 654,984 shares during the period. Finally, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP grew its position in Azul by 148.1% during the third quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,036,269 shares of the company’s stock valued at $18,440,000 after acquiring an additional 618,544 shares during the period. 7.16% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Azul Company Profile

Azul SA provides passenger and cargo air transportation services in Brazil. As of March 31, 2018, it operated 739 daily flights to 106 destinations through a network of 206 non-stop routes with a fleet of 120 aircraft. The company was incorporated in 2008 and is headquartered in Barueri, Brazil.

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