Why Hawaiian Holdings Inc. Shares May Soar to $16

Does this analyst make a good case? Or from is it just more noise Wall Street?

Brian D. Pacampara, CFA
Brian D. Pacampara, CFA
Apr 24, 2014 at 1:42PM
Consumer Goods

While Fools should generally take the opinion of Wall Street with a grain of salt, it's not a bad idea to take a look at particularly stock-shaking analyst upgrades and downgrades -- just in case their reasoning behind the call makes sense.

What: Shares of Hawaiian Holdings (NASDAQ:HA) climbed 4% today after Bank of America upgraded the regional airline from underperform to neutral.

So what: Along with the upgrade, analyst Glenn Engel boosted his price target to $16 (from $10.50), representing about 9% worth of upside to yesterday's close. So while contrarian traders might be turned off by Hawaiian's price surge over the past year, Engel's call could reflect a growing sense on Wall Street that the company's prospects still aren't fully baked into the valuation.

Now what: B of A raised its 2014 earnings-per-share outlook for Hawaiian from $0.90 to $1.20 and its 2015 view from $1.05 to $1.35. "We had viewed HA as a value trap -- a stock that looks inexpensive because investors underestimate the impact on int'l margins from currency and competition," said Engel. "While consensus estimates did fall 50% in 1H13, estimate revisions turned positive in 2H13 and int'l margin pressures ease as 2014 progresses." Of course, when you couple the airline industry's notoriously intense nature with the stock's red-hot run-up -- up almost 200% over its 52-week low -- Hawaiian's long-term risk/reward proposition doesn't seem all that attractive.