The Qantas share price keeps falling! Time to buy?

Can Qantas shares regain their lost altitude?

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It has certainly been a rough period for the Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) share price over the past couple of months. 

It was only back on 24 July that Qantas shares were flying high, asking around $6.70 each. But yesterday, the national carrier closed at just $5.58 a share. That's down almost 17% from that July high, as well as representing a loss of 12.7% over the past month alone.

It's not hard to see why investors have lost some of their confidence in Qantas. The airline has been embroiled in quite a few public fallouts with the public over the past month. My Fool colleague Mitchell aptly summed it all up last week:

  • 21 August: Qantas faces a class action lawsuit regarding the handling of cancelled flights due to COVID-19 travel restrictions
  • 29 August: Alan Joyce, now former Qantas CEO, faced a senate enquiry amid the company's record profits and lack of competition
  • 30 August: Corporate protectionism brought into question during enquiry
  • 31 August: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launches legal action against Qantas for allegedly selling tickets to already cancelled flights

This of course all came to a head on 5 September with the early exit of long-term CEO Alan Joyce. Still, many investors (and probably almost all Qantas customers) might have been raising eyebrows at Joyce's generous golden handshake exit package, which could potentially be worth up to $24 million.

So the recent slump in the Qantas share price has erased the airline's 2023 gains to date. As it stands now, Qantas is now down more than 6% in 2023, but remains up by 5.08% over the past 12 months, as you can see below:

Is the Qantas share price a buy after falling 17% in two months?

But with Qantas shares now flying at a far lower altitude, many investors might be asking themselves if this ASX travel share is a buy today.

Well, one ASX broker who remains excited about Qantas, particularly at the company's current share pricing, is Morgan Stanley. Over the weekend, my Fool colleague James discussed Morgan Stanley's views on the Flying Kangaroo.

The broker remains ultra-bullish on Qantas, maintaining its overweight rating on the shares. Even better, Morgan Stanley has given the Qantas share price a 12-month share price target of $9 a share. If realised, investors would be in line for a whopping gain of 61.3% over the coming 12 months.

The broker stated that Joyce's early departure changes nothing in their estimates and could even "help end the recent negative press that has been weighing on sentiment".

No doubt that will come as a much-needed boost for Qantas shareholders today. But we'll have to see what happens with the airline over the coming year.

At yesterday's closing share price, Qantas sports a market capitalisation of $9.62 billion, but still with no dividend yield.

Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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