Deutsche Bank has downgraded Southwest Airlines shares from “Buy” to “Hold” on fears the benefits from the acquisition of AirTran Airways would be more gradual than originally expected. The bank has set a $9 price target on the shares, which is 15% above Friday’s closing price. Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Linenberg said there was “increased execution risk” with the merger between Southwest and AirTran and that the airline company is unlikely to meet its promise of a 15% return on investment until at least 2013.
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