Centurylink (NYSE:CTL) Raised 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 report released on Tuesday, January 9th.

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 firms have also recently weighed in on CTL. ValuEngine raised shares of Centurylink from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 17th. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $25.00 price objective on shares of Centurylink in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. Barclays decreased their price objective on shares of Centurylink from $23.00 to $19.00 and set an underweight rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, October 4th. Jefferies Group decreased their price objective on shares of Centurylink to $17.00 and set a hold rating on the stock in a research note on Thursday, November 9th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group raised shares of Centurylink from a sell rating to a neutral rating and set a $19.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Monday, January 8th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating, seven have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. Centurylink presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $22.37.

Centurylink (NYSE CTL) opened at $17.73 on Tuesday. The company has a market cap of $18,950.00, a PE ratio of 30.57, a PEG ratio of -7.73 and a beta of 0.82. The company has a current ratio of 0.82, a quick ratio of 0.82 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.92. Centurylink has a 52-week low of $13.16 and a 52-week high of $27.61.

Centurylink (NYSE:CTL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, November 8th. The technology company reported $0.42 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.45 by ($0.03). The company had revenue of $4.03 billion for 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%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 7.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.56 EPS. sell-side analysts forecast that Centurylink will post 1.56 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, CEO Glen F. Post III bought 50,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, December 8th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $14.17 per share, for a total transaction of $708,500.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Virginia Boulet bought 5,095 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, December 11th. The stock was purchased at an average price of $15.48 per share, for a total transaction of $78,870.60. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now owns 42,820 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $662,853.60. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders acquired 150,595 shares of company stock worth $2,154,131. Company insiders own 0.61% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Centurylink by 22.6% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 57,351,163 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $1,369,547,000 after acquiring an additional 10,583,246 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its position in shares of Centurylink by 6.2% during the third quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 10,289,893 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $194,498,000 after acquiring an additional 600,462 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp increased its position in shares of Centurylink by 1.4% during the second quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 6,978,167 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $166,639,000 after acquiring an additional 95,821 shares in the last quarter. Capital World Investors bought a new stake in shares of Centurylink during the second quarter worth $142,086,000. Finally, Epoch Investment Partners Inc. increased its position in shares of Centurylink by 11.0% during the third quarter. Epoch Investment Partners Inc. now owns 5,521,373 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $104,354,000 after acquiring an additional 546,435 shares in the last quarter. 42.54% of the stock is 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 Enterprise, 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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