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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
July 29, 2014
12:23 EDTWIN, VZ, T, S, FTR, CTLWindstream REIT spin off plan provides jolt for stock, telecom sector
Shares of Windstream (WIN), which provides network communications services to businesses and residential consumers, are jumping after the company announced that it would spin off some of its assets into a real estate investment trust, or REIT. Two research firms had very different reactions to the move. WHAT'S NEW: Windstream said that it would spin of some of its assets, including its fiber and copper networks and other real estate, as a REIT. Expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year, the tax-free spinoff will enable Windstream to realize significant financial flexibility by lowering its debt by approximately $3.2B and increasing free cash flow to accelerate broadband investments, transition faster to an IP network and pursue additional growth opportunities, the company said. The REIT will be positioned to provide an attractive dividend to shareholders and grow revenue through lease escalation, capital investment and acquisitions, Windstream added. Windstream noted that the IRS had granted preliminary recognition of the tax-free nature of the spinoff and the qualification of the spun off assets for REIT status. The company said it expects to pay a dividend of 10c per share after the transaction, while the REIT will pay an annual dividend equivalent to 60c per share. REITs do not pay taxes on income that they distribute to unitholders. ANALYST REACTION: In a note to investors today, Oppenheimer analyst Timothy Horan said that the move would enable Windstream to avoid about $200M each year in potential taxes. The analyst noted that Windstream was cutting its overall dividend to 70c from $1, but he believes that the dividend has become much safer. Furthermore, the move is intelligent from a strategic, operational, and financial viewpoint, he believes. With its new structure, Windstream is worth at least $15 per share and could be worth as much as $18 per share, Horan estimated. The analyst kept a Perform rating on the stock. Much more skeptical about Windstream's move was Mike McCormack, an analyst at research firm Jefferies. The REIT spin-off is "an elegant way" for Windstream to cut its dividend, McCormack contended. The move does not change the company's fundamentals and calls into question the stock's valuation, as the portion of the company not spun off into the REIT appears to be a non-facilities based provider, the analyst wrote. As a result, Windstream's valuation is questionable, he contended. McCormack kept a $6 price target and Underperform rating on the shares. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Horan and McCormack both believe that other telecom companies with wireline businesses could follow Windstream's lead and spin off assets into a REIT. By obtaining a favorable preliminary ruling from the IRS, Windstream has already cleared the biggest hurdle to a REIT conversion, possibly setting the stage for other companies in the sector to follow suit, McCormack stated. If Windstream is able to carry out the spinoff, it means that every non-REIT communications and cloud company covered by Oppenheimer is now about 20% undervalued, wrote Horan. However, UBS analyst Scott Arwin does not expect large telecom companies like Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) to follow Windstream's lead, as he does not think the larger companies will want to open their networks to competitors at regulated rates. PRICE ACTION: In midday trading, Windstream rose 12% to $11.80. The stock was well off its high for the day of $13.30. Other stocks in the sector also rose, with Frontier Communications climbing 12% to $6.64, Century Link (CTL) advancing 4% to $39.15, AT&T (T) gaining 3.3% to $36.83, Verizon (VZ) rising 1.8% to $52.50 and Sprint (S) adding 1% to $7.75.
News For WIN;VZ;T;S;FTR;CTL From The Last 14 Days
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September 7, 2014
16:22 EDTCTLCenturyLink said to seek Rackspace acquisition, Bloomberg says
Louisiana-based landline phone service provider CenturyLink (CTL), is looking to acquire cloud computing company Rackspace Hosting (RAX), says Bloomberg, citing sources. Sources say a deal may not be reached for Rackspace Hosting, which currently has a stock market valuation of $5.33B, added Bloomberg. Reference Link
September 5, 2014
11:47 EDTFTROptions with increasing implied volatility
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10:31 EDTSSprint reaches 4G LTE roaming agreements with 15 rural carriers
Sprint announced that it has reached 4G LTE agreements with 15 additional rural and regional network carriers as part of the Rural Roaming Preferred Provider program it announced with Competitive Carriers Association earlier this year. The program gives smaller carriers a clear path forward to high speed mobile broadband solutions by providing the carriers low-cost access to Sprintís nationwide 4G LTE network and an opportunity to access an expanded range of mobile devices.
06:41 EDTVZ, TFCC head says agency to promote high speed Internet choices, NY Times reports
Stating that fewer than 25% of American homes have access to more than one high speed Internet provider, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the agency would look to promote additional choices in the sector, according to The New York Times. High speed Internet providers include Comcast (CMCSA), Cablevision (CVC), Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T), and Google (GOOG). Reference Link
05:33 EDTTAT&T to offer Moto X, Moto Hint
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September 4, 2014
14:05 EDTTCiena weakness may create attractive entry point, says Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo believes that Ciena (CIEN) reported solid Q3 results, and the firm was encouraged by the news that the company was named as an AT&T (T) domain 2.0 supplier. However, the firm notes that Ciena's Q4 revenue guidance was lower than expected, partly due to the deal. Nonetheless the firm expects the factors that caused the guidance miss to be transitory, and it is upbeat about the company's outlook for FY15. Wells keeps an Outperform rating on the shares.
11:50 EDTTAT&T management to meet with Jefferies
Group dinner to be held in Las Vegas on September 10 in conjunction with the CTIA Conference hosted by Jefferies.
11:32 EDTVZVerizon raises dividend to 55c from 53c
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11:05 EDTFTROptions with increasing implied volatility
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09:31 EDTTAT&T says 4G LTE network now reaches over 300M people
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September 3, 2014
11:15 EDTVZVerizon to pay $7.4M to settle privacy investigation
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10:16 EDTTAT&T confirms will carry Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Note Edge, Gear VR
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10:00 EDTFTROn The Fly: Analyst Downgrade Summary
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08:28 EDTVZ, TISIS Wallet changes name to Softcard
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08:17 EDTFTRFrontier Communications downgraded at Morgan Stanley
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08:12 EDTSSprint will cut expenses further, says Wells Fargo
After meeting with Sprint's new CEO, Wells Fargo thinks the company will significantly cut its expenses. The firm expects the company to use some of the savings from these cuts for marketing and advertising, but it believes that the savings will exceed the additional expenditures. Wells keeps an Outperform rating on the stock.
06:09 EDTFTRFrontier downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
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September 2, 2014
13:04 EDTTFinisar retreats after analyst cuts on pricing, demand worries
Shares of optical components maker Finisar (FNSR) are falling after research firm Jefferies downgraded the stock to Hold from Buy in a note to investors today, citing pricing and demand concerns. WHAT'S NEW: After conducting checks, Jefferies analyst James Kisner wrote that Finisar is facing "brutal" prices for datacom optics, particularly in China. Prices for telecom components in North America are also challenging for Finisar, he reported. Various low-cost competitors are driving down prices for datacom optics, while AT&T (T) is trying to force optical systems vendors to cut the prices of their components by 40%, Kisner stated. Meanwhile, demand for mobile backhaul optics slowed significantly in China over the last month, and two of Finisar's customers - Cisco (CSCO) and Huawei - are exploring alternatives to Finisar's products, Kisner indicated. Additionally, Intel (INTC) and numerous start-ups may launch products that will compete with those of Finisar, potentially cutting into its market share beginning in the second half of 2015, the analyst warned. He cut his price target on the shares to $19 from $25. PRICE ACTION: In early afternoon trading, Finisar slumped 5.5% to $19. Other optical components makers also dropped, with Oclaro (OCLR) falling 1% to $1.75 and JDS Uniphase (JDSU) losing 2% to $11.30.
07:39 EDTSSoftbank to launch robot in U.S. Sprint stores, Bloomberg reports
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06:08 EDTTCox sued by AT&T for patent infringement, Reuters reports
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