Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) Raised to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday, May 12th.

According to Zacks, “Verizon’s latest deal to acquire Straight Path Communications for $3.1 billion bode well for its 5G wireless network strategy. Verizon is likely to venture into online TV streaming service. Verizon has started conducting 5G wireless network trials in 11 U.S. cities and plans to deploy its fixed wireless version in 2018. Verizon’s unlimited data plans have heated up the wireless industry. Verizon-Yahoo deal underwent a discount revision of $350 million. Over the past three months, the stock price fell 5.2% while the Zacks classified Wireless National industry declined 4.0%. Verizon lost 0.307 million postpaid and 0.017 million prepaid customers in the first quarter of 2017. Meanwhile, saturated and competitive wireless market, expenses related to promotions and discounts, intensely competitive video market and losses in access lines are other risks. Lawsuit for its FiOS rollout in New York is a concern.”

VZ has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Evercore ISI assumed coverage on Verizon Communications in a research report on Monday, January 30th. They issued a “hold” rating and a $53.00 price objective on the stock. TheStreet downgraded Verizon Communications from a “b-” rating to a “c” rating in a research report on Thursday, April 27th. Vetr cut Verizon Communications from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $51.51 target price on the stock. in a research note on Monday, March 20th. Raymond James Financial, Inc. reissued a “market perform” rating on shares of Verizon Communications in a research note on Wednesday, January 25th. Finally, Barclays PLC reduced their price objective on Verizon Communications from $53.00 to $52.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, January 25th. Twenty-seven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. Verizon Communications has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $53.54.

Analyst Recommendations for Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ)

Verizon Communications (NYSE VZ) traded down 0.02% during trading on Friday, reaching $46.63. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 22,573,927 shares. The firm has a market cap of $190.22 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.60 and a beta of 0.56. Verizon Communications has a 52 week low of $44.46 and a 52 week high of $56.95. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $46.05 and its 200-day moving average is $49.18.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 20th. The cell phone carrier reported $0.95 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.98 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $29.81 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations 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 for the quarter was down 7.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.06 EPS. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Verizon Communications will post $3.75 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 1st. Shareholders of record on Monday, July 10th will be paid a $0.5775 dividend. This represents a $2.31 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.95%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, July 6th. Verizon Communications’s payout ratio is currently 77.00%.

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In other news, EVP Marni M. Walden sold 16,362 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, May 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $46.08, for a total value of $753,960.96. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 11,797 shares in the company, valued at approximately $543,605.76. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 610 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated 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 sale, the executive vice president now owns 9,649 shares in the company, valued at $456,976.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 18,192 shares of company stock worth $840,801. Corporate insiders own 0.13% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Baltimore Washington Financial Advisors Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Verizon Communications during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $9,742,000. Guidant Wealth Advisors purchased a new position in shares of Verizon Communications during the third quarter valued at approximately $107,000. Sunbelt Securities Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Verizon Communications during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $115,000. Westside Investment Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Verizon Communications by 2.2% in the first quarter. Westside Investment Management Inc. now owns 2,210 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $108,000 after buying an additional 48 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Tortoise Investment Management LLC increased 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 last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 62.53% of the company’s stock.

Verizon Communications Company Profile

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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