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An Airline Fare War Has Broken Out and Spirit's Stock Remains a Tough One to Own

The Street logo The Street 8/14/2017 Giovanni Bruno
Barclays: Spirit Airlines Stock More Attractive© TheStreet Barclays: Spirit Airlines Stock More Attractive

Shares of the low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines have dropped more than 28% over the past month, after reports surfaced saying its pilots might need a pay raise and that United Continental was stepping up its efforts to challenge Spirit by offering lower fares.

That said, Spirit's decline has made the stock more attractive to Barclays analyst Brandon Oglenski, but he isn't turning bullish right away, according to a note obtained by Barron's.

"Before we get too bullish on the stock, we want to wait a bit longer to see how competitive actions from larger airlines impact Spirit's ability to profitably expand capacity," Oglenski noted. "The company faces continuing headwinds from pilot negotiations, but we think the bigger issue driving the negative market reaction was commentary surrounding a renewed 'fare war' with legacy airlines."

While he accounts for headwinds facing Spirit coming in the form of increased pressures from larger carriers dropping fares, combined with "an already challenging operating environment," he still finds the stock to be "cheap."

"We admit Spirit shares trade relatively 'cheap', [but] we continue to see more favorable risk-reward opportunities in other airline equities." 

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