Centurylink (CTL) Upgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Centurylink (NYSE:CTL) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a research note 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.”

A number of other research analysts also recently issued reports on the company. Bank of America cut their price target on Centurylink from $42.00 to $27.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a report on Friday, November 10th. Deutsche Bank reiterated a hold rating and issued a $16.00 price target on shares of Centurylink in a report on Thursday, November 9th. SunTrust Banks reiterated a hold rating and issued a $25.00 price target on shares of Centurylink in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. Cowen reiterated a hold rating and issued a $24.00 price target on shares of Centurylink in a report on Thursday, October 19th. Finally, Jefferies Group cut their price target on Centurylink to $17.00 and set a hold rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, November 9th. Two 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’s stock. Centurylink presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $22.37.

Shares of Centurylink (NYSE CTL) traded down $0.11 during trading hours on Tuesday, hitting $17.36. The stock had a trading volume of 11,530,000 shares, compared to its average volume of 16,840,000. Centurylink has a twelve month low of $13.16 and a twelve month high of $27.61. The stock has a market cap of $18,560.00, a P/E ratio of 29.93, a PEG ratio of -7.80 and a beta of 0.79. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.92, a current ratio of 0.82 and a quick ratio of 0.82.

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

In other Centurylink news, CEO Glen F. Post III acquired 50,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 8th. The stock was purchased at an average price of $14.17 per share, with a total value of $708,500.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, COO Jeffrey K. Storey acquired 71,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 8th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $14.30 per share, with a total value of $1,015,300.00. Following the transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 2,498,668 shares in the company, valued at $35,730,952.40. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders bought a total of 150,595 shares of company stock valued at $2,154,131 in the last three months. Insiders own 0.61% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Capital Insight Partners LLC acquired a new stake in Centurylink during the 4th quarter worth about $1,751,000. Hexavest Inc. lifted its position in Centurylink by 0.9% during the 4th quarter. Hexavest Inc. now owns 1,486,789 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $24,800,000 after acquiring an additional 13,110 shares during the period. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC lifted its position in Centurylink by 70.1% during the 4th quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 214,524 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $3,578,000 after acquiring an additional 88,381 shares during the period. DnB Asset Management AS lifted its position in Centurylink by 84.7% during the 4th quarter. DnB Asset Management AS now owns 105,627 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $1,762,000 after acquiring an additional 48,427 shares during the period. Finally, Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX lifted its position in Centurylink by 54.1% during the 4th quarter. Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX now owns 154,678 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $2,580,000 after acquiring an additional 54,312 shares during the period. 82.32% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other 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.

Analyst Recommendations for Centurylink (NYSE:CTL)

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