Centurylink (CTL) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Centurylink (NYSE:CTL) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a report released on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “CenturyLink remains focused on establishing itself as a global leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions arena for enterprise customers. The company unveiled a beta version of its OTT TV services. CenturyLink invests in fiber-to-the-tower expansion and has expanded its fiber-based backhaul services. Acquisition of Level 3 Communications will increase CenturyLink's network by 200,000 route miles of fiber. On the flip side, CenturyLink continues to suffer from declining access lines and broadband subscriber losses. High debt levels and decreasing cash flows are likely to affect the company's margins. Technological changes compel large investments, which can dilute cash flow. Over the past three months, the stock price declined 15.2% as against the industry's 0.5% loss. Moreover, CenturyLink unveiled disappointing guidance for certain important metrics for the full-year of 2017.”

CTL has been the subject of several other reports. UBS Group dropped their target price on shares of Centurylink from $29.00 to $22.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, November 9th. Bank of America dropped their target price on shares of Centurylink from $42.00 to $27.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a research report on Friday, November 10th. Cowen restated a hold rating and issued a $24.00 target price on shares of Centurylink in a research report on Thursday, October 19th. Deutsche Bank restated a hold rating and issued a $16.00 target price on shares of Centurylink in a research report on Thursday, November 9th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. restated a buy rating and issued a $26.00 target price on shares of Centurylink in a research report on Thursday, November 9th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating, six have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $22.37.

Shares of Centurylink (CTL) traded down $0.11 during trading on Tuesday, reaching $17.36. 11,530,000 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 16,840,000. The firm has a market cap of $18,560.00, a PE ratio of 29.93, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of -7.80 and a beta of 0.79. The company has a quick ratio of 0.82, a current ratio of 0.82 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.92. Centurylink has a twelve month low of $13.16 and a twelve month high of $27.61.

Centurylink (NYSE:CTL) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, November 8th. The technology company reported $0.42 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.45 by ($0.03). The firm had revenue of $4.03 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.06 billion. Centurylink had a net margin of 1.89% and a return on equity of 7.99%. Centurylink’s quarterly revenue was down 7.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.56 earnings per share. equities analysts forecast that Centurylink will post 1.56 EPS for the current year.

In related news, CEO Glen F. Post III purchased 50,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 8th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $14.17 per share, with a total value of $708,500.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Harvey P. Perry purchased 7,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 8th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $14.32 per share, for a total transaction of $107,400.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders have purchased a total of 150,595 shares of company stock worth $2,154,131 over the last ninety days. 0.61% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in CTL. Pacer Advisors Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Centurylink by 8.5% during the 2nd quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 10,897 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $260,000 after purchasing an additional 855 shares during the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Centurylink by 0.8% during the 2nd quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 850,842 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $20,318,000 after purchasing an additional 6,447 shares during the last quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department grew its holdings in shares of Centurylink by 37.6% during the 2nd quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department now owns 205,286 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $4,903,000 after purchasing an additional 56,138 shares during the last quarter. CIBC World Markets Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Centurylink by 101.9% during the 2nd quarter. CIBC World Markets Inc. now owns 62,477 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $1,492,000 after purchasing an additional 31,525 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Eaton Vance Management grew its holdings in shares of Centurylink by 0.5% during the 2nd quarter. Eaton Vance Management now owns 12,640 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $302,000 after purchasing an additional 57 shares during the last quarter. 82.32% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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About Centurylink

CenturyLink, Inc is an integrated communications company. The Company is engaged in providing an array of communications services to its residential and business customers. Its segments include business, which provides strategic, legacy and data integration products and services to small, medium and enterprise business, wholesale and governmental customers, including other communication providers, and consumer, which provides strategic and legacy products and services to residential customers.

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