|12:42 EDT||SBAC||Analyst bullish on tower companies after meeting with American Tower|
American Tower's (AMT) outlook has improved, and it should report strong 2016 results, research firm Pacific Crest wrote in a note to investors earlier today. American Tower owns towers used by cell phone carriers. WHAT'S NEW: After hosting a non-deal roadshow with American Tower, Pacific Crest analyst Michael Bowen said he had an "increasingly positive outlook" on the company in particular and the cell phone tower sector in general. Carrier tower applications rose last quarter, versus the second half of 2014, Bowen quoted American Tower and its peers as saying. This increase appears to bode well for the sector's performance in the second half of 2015 and 2016, according to Bowen, who expects American Tower to have strong 2016 results. The analyst predicts that American Tower's adjusted funds from operations, or AFFO, will increase about 9% in 2015 and 10.6% in 2016. However, the company estimated that its AFFO growth "could approach" mid-teen percentage levels if it decides not to acquire any more towers, according to Bowen. Additionally, American Tower reported that it believes it can eventually more than double the nearly 18,000 towers it owns in Brazil, Bowen reported. The analyst recommended that investors buy the stock. PRICE ACTION: In early afternoon trading, American Tower was flat at $93.56. Other tower owners were also little changed, as Crown Castle (CCI) was flat at $83, and SBA Communications (SBAC) added 0.7% to $116.21.