Alaska Air Group (ALK) has seen its shares soar almost 40% since this past June. Bill Smead, portfolio manager for the Smead Value Fund, said the airline's recently approved merger with Virgin America will give its shares even more lift in 2017. Last week the Justice Department (DOJ) approved Alaska Airlines' merger with Virgin America (VA) and both sides declared victory. The DOJ said in a prepared statement that it would require Alaska "to significantly reduce the scope of its codeshare agreement with American AAL, the world's largest airline" if it wants to complete the $4 billion deal. "The five big airlines are becoming a tollbridge. It's no longer a foodfight and therefore they have pricing flexibility and can raise prices," said Smead. "It should be a very good business." Smead is also a fan of Lennar Corporation (LEN) and TEGNA (TGNA)
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