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

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Centurylink (NYSE:CTL) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “CenturyLink’s strong network capabilities, integrated hosting and network solutions are likely to promote growth in the cloud business. The company views its managed and cloud services to be key differentiators from other players in the industry, which should boost its top line. CenturyLink has expanded its fiber-based backhaul services and is establishing itself as a global leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions arena designed for enterprise customers. The stock has outperformed the industry in the past six months on an average. However, CenturyLink’s core local phone business has slowed down due to the substitution of traditional wireline telephone services by wireless and other competitive offerings. The company’s liquidity position seems to be a major concern, posing threat to its margins. Moreover, if CenturyLink fails to adopt new technology, it might result in greater subscriber loss to larger competitors.”

Several other research firms have also weighed in on CTL. Royal Bank of Canada boosted their target price on shares of Centurylink to $27.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a report on Thursday, August 16th. Hanson lowered shares of Centurylink from a neutral rating to a sell rating and set a $19.00 target price on the stock. in a report on Wednesday, August 22nd. Moffett Nathanson reiterated a sell rating and issued a $23.00 target price on shares of Centurylink in a report on Wednesday, August 22nd. Bank of America set a $27.00 target price on shares of Centurylink and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, August 8th. Finally, TheStreet upgraded shares of Centurylink from a c+ rating to a b rating in a report on Friday, July 6th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $21.33.

NYSE:CTL opened at $20.66 on Tuesday. The company has a current ratio of 0.98, a quick ratio of 0.98 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.60. The stock has a market capitalization of $22.91 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.94, a PEG ratio of -13.19 and a beta of 0.86. Centurylink has a 1-year low of $13.16 and a 1-year high of $24.20.

Centurylink (NYSE:CTL) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, August 8th. The technology company reported $0.26 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.23 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $5.90 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.92 billion. Centurylink had a net margin of 7.62% and a return on equity of 4.50%. Centurylink’s revenue was up 44.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.46 EPS. Equities analysts expect that Centurylink will post 1.07 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 14th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 31st were paid a $0.54 dividend. This represents a $2.16 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 10.45%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 30th. Centurylink’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 146.94%.

In other news, Director Glen F. Post III sold 150,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $24.00, for a total value of $3,600,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 0.60% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Migdal Insurance & Financial Holdings Ltd. increased its stake in Centurylink by 16,940.6% during the 2nd quarter. Migdal Insurance & Financial Holdings Ltd. now owns 5,453 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $102,000 after buying an additional 5,421 shares during the period. Rehmann Capital Advisory Group increased its stake in Centurylink by 210.7% during the 2nd quarter. Rehmann Capital Advisory Group now owns 5,873 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $109,000 after buying an additional 3,983 shares during the period. Baker Ellis Asset Management LLC purchased a new stake in Centurylink during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $110,000. AdvisorNet Financial Inc increased its stake in Centurylink by 118.4% during the 2nd quarter. AdvisorNet Financial Inc now owns 6,422 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $120,000 after buying an additional 3,482 shares during the period. Finally, Private Capital Group LLC increased its stake in Centurylink by 295.1% during the 1st quarter. Private Capital Group LLC now owns 8,783 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $144,000 after buying an additional 6,560 shares during the period. 77.01% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Centurylink Company Profile

CenturyLink, Inc provides various communications services to residential, business, wholesale, and governmental customers primarily in the United States. It operates in two segments, Business and Consumer. The company offers virtual private network data network services; Ethernet services; Internet protocol services; CenturyLink Prism TV that allows customers to watch television or cable channels and record up to four shows on one home digital video recorder; and Vyvx, which provides audio and video feeds over fiber or satellite for broadcast and production customers, as well as satellite digital television services.

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