Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Monday.
According to Zacks, “Verizon’s unlimited data plans have heated up the wireless industry and helped it witness the addition of 1.174 million postpaid customers in fourth-quarter 2017. The telco’s plan to launch 5G wireless broadband services in U.S. markets in 2018 looks good. Further, the company is planning to launch a theme-based online streaming TV service in 2018, backed by the digital streaming deal with the National Football League. Meanwhile, the company continues to target the SMB segment with Fios TV services and boost its fiber network assets with new buyouts. The company expects growth in 2018 on the back of the expected savings from tax reform. In fact, in the past three months, the stock price outperformed its industry. However, Verizon continues to struggle in a highly competitive and saturated wireless market. Losses in wireline access lines, marketing costs of promotional plans, competitive video market are other major risks.”
A number of other equities research analysts also recently issued reports on VZ. Vetr downgraded shares of Verizon Communications from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating and set a $54.24 target price for the company. in a report on Tuesday, March 6th. Moffett Nathanson upgraded shares of Verizon Communications from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 28th. Macquarie reiterated a hold rating and set a $54.00 price objective on shares of Verizon Communications in a research note on Wednesday, January 24th. SunTrust Banks boosted their price objective on shares of Verizon Communications to $58.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 24th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted their price objective on shares of Verizon Communications from $52.00 to $58.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 24th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have issued a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $53.69.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, January 23rd. The cell phone carrier reported $0.86 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.88 by ($0.02). Verizon Communications had a net margin of 23.88% and a return on equity of 48.97%. The company had revenue of $33.96 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $33.20 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.86 earnings per share. Verizon Communications’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.2% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts anticipate that Verizon Communications will post 4.55 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, May 1st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, April 10th will be paid a $0.59 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, April 9th. This represents a $2.36 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.87%. Verizon Communications’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 72.62%.
In other news, SVP Anthony T. Skiadas sold 6,967 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.80, for a total value of $346,956.60. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 16,059 shares in the company, valued at $799,738.20. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. 0.13% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in Verizon Communications by 2.1% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 282,894,542 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $12,634,070,000 after acquiring an additional 5,837,702 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in Verizon Communications by 0.8% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 265,904,768 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $14,074,340,000 after acquiring an additional 2,236,290 shares in the last quarter. Capital Research Global Investors raised its holdings in Verizon Communications by 15.1% in the second quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 153,408,016 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $6,851,202,000 after acquiring an additional 20,070,391 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its holdings in Verizon Communications by 15.0% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 61,833,096 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $2,761,466,000 after acquiring an additional 8,077,275 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its holdings in Verizon Communications by 14.1% in the fourth quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 48,749,993 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $2,580,337,000 after acquiring an additional 6,007,544 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 64.37% of the company’s stock.
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Verizon Communications Company Profile
Verizon Communications Inc is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses and governmental agencies. Its segments include Wireless and Wireline. The Wireless segment offers communications products and services, including wireless voice and data services and equipment sales, to consumer, business and government customers across the United States.
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