Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) Lifted to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Verizon has started conducting 5G wireless network trials in 11 U.S. cities with plans to deploy its fixed wireless version in 2018. However, a full-phased 5G wireless network will be offered only in 2020. Verizon is gearing up to launch an online TV streaming service later this year. Buyout of Yahoo will boost Verizon’s digital media suite. The deal will create a major player in the mobile media and advertising space. The deal to buy Straight Path Communications complements its 5G wireless expansion strategies. Verizon’s unlimited data plans have heated up the wireless industry. Verizon is on track to bolster its foothold in the fiber and Internet of Things space through different deals. Over the past three months, the stock price underperformed the Zacks Wireless National industry. Saturated and competitive wireless market, costs related to promotions and discounts, competitive video market, access line losses are risks to Verizon.”

A number of other brokerages also recently weighed in on VZ. Vetr downgraded shares of Verizon Communications from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $51.51 target price for the company. in a research note on Monday, March 20th. SunTrust Banks, Inc. began coverage on shares of Verizon Communications in a research note on Tuesday, April 18th. They set a hold rating and a $50.00 target price for the company. Barclays PLC lowered their target price on shares of Verizon Communications from $52.00 to $49.00 and set an equal weight rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, April 13th. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a hold rating and set a $51.00 target price on shares of Verizon Communications in a research note on Friday, April 7th. Finally, Argus downgraded shares of Verizon Communications from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Friday, April 21st. Twenty-six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, five have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $53.72.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) opened at 42.89 on Friday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $45.84 and a 200 day moving average of $48.85. Verizon Communications has a one year low of $42.80 and a one year high of $56.25. The firm has a market cap of $174.96 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.34 and a beta of 0.54.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 20th. The cell phone carrier reported $0.95 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.98 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $29.81 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $30.41 billion. Verizon Communications had a net margin of 9.92% and a return on equity of 66.99%. Verizon Communications’s revenue was down 7.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.06 EPS. Equities research analysts predict that Verizon Communications will post $3.74 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 1st. Investors of record on Monday, July 10th will be issued a dividend of $0.5775 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, July 6th. This represents a $2.31 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 5.39%. Verizon Communications’s dividend payout ratio is currently 77.00%.

In other Verizon Communications news, EVP Marni M. Walden sold 16,362 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, May 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $46.08, for a total value of $753,960.96. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 11,797 shares in the company, valued at approximately $543,605.76. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 610 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, April 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $47.36, for a total transaction of $28,889.60. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 9,649 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $456,976.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 18,192 shares of company stock valued at $837,958 over the last quarter. 0.13% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Sunbelt Securities Inc. bought a new position in shares of Verizon Communications during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $115,000. Franklin Parlapiano Turner & Welch LLC bought a new position in shares of Verizon Communications during the first quarter valued at approximately $136,000. Tortoise Investment Management LLC raised its position in shares of Verizon Communications by 35.3% in the fourth quarter. Tortoise Investment Management LLC now owns 2,609 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $139,000 after buying an additional 680 shares during the period. American Beacon Advisors Inc. bought a new position in shares of Verizon Communications during the first quarter valued at approximately $140,000. Finally, Proficio Capital Partners LLC raised its position in shares of Verizon Communications by 139.8% in the first quarter. Proficio Capital Partners LLC now owns 3,158 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $142,000 after buying an additional 1,841 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 62.50% of the company’s stock.

About Verizon Communications

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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