Analyst Andrew Didora boosts stock price target by more than 7 times to $15
Shares of Mesa Air Group Inc. soared to pre-COVID highs, after BofA Securities analyst Andrew Didora swung to bullish from bearish, saying the regional air carrier is well positioned to capitalize on the return to travel.
The stock (MESA) ran up 8.1% in midday trading, and has now jumped 54.0% over the past week. The stock has rocketed more than fivefold (up 438%) from its post-COVID closing low of $2.13 on April 3, to trade at the highest levels seen since December 2018, which was a year before the virus outbreak was believed to have started ().
The stock's rally Wednesday comes while the U.S. Global Jets exchange-traded fund (JETS) edged up 0.3% while the S&P 500 index fell 0.6%.
Didora raised his rating on Mesa by two notches to buy from underperform, while boosting his stock price target more than sevenfold to $15 from $2.
He said Mesa is a "large beneficiary" of the U.S. government's support of the airline industry, as it received more than $140 million in grant funds and a $195 million load to refinance higher debt costs.
And with long-term contracts at larger carriers United Airlines Holdings Inc. (UAL) and American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL), "we believe Mesa is now well positioned to help its partners capitalize on a return to domestic travel, particularly as the network airlines should focus more on hub traffic," Didora wrote in a note to clients.
Separately, Didora was also upbeat about Mesa's recent partnership with United in placing a $1 billion order for all-electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL) from Archer Aviation Inc.
Archer announced last week it was going public through a merger with special-purpose acquisition company Atlas Crest Investment Corp. (ACIC) Mesa said at the time that it agreed to pay $5 million to buy 500,000 Atlas shares ( ), and that it will receive a warrant exercisable to for 2.9 million Archer shares.
Atlas Crest's stock surged 8.8% in midday trading.
Didora said that investment "gives Mesa equity exposure to a high-growth segment to balance out its more stable regional airline model."
Mesa's stock has more than doubled (up 127.8%) over the past three months, while the Jets ETF has advanced 15.1% and the S&P 500 has gained 8.3%.
-Tomi Kilgore; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 17, 2021 11:45 ET (16:45 GMT)
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