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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
July 29, 2014
12:23 EDTCTL, T, FTR, VZ, S, WINWindstream 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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April 24, 2015
12:51 EDTTAT&T says all twelve board nominees reelected for one-year terms
10:00 EDTTOn The Fly: Analyst Upgrade Summary
Today's noteworthy upgrades include: AT&T (T) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie... Alaska Air (ALK) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Buckingham... Amazon.com (AMZN) upgraded at Raymond James... American Electric (AEP) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank... Broadridge (BR) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Evercore ISI... Cablevision (CVC) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Brean Capital... Cisco (CSCO) upgraded to Conviction Buy from Buy at Goldman... Core Laboratories (CLB) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at Iberia... Crown Castle (CCI) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James... Encore Wire (WIRE) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Sidoti... Gigamon (GIMO) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at DA Davidson... Juniper (JNPR) upgraded on improved outlook at RBC Capital... KPN (KKPNY) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman... Knight Transportation (KNX) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Avondale... Mattel (MAT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman... Microsoft (MSFT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Nomura... Premiere Global (PGI) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James... Quintiles (Q) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies... Southwestern Energy (SWN) upgraded to Market Perform at Raymond James... TE Connectivity (TEL) upgraded on positive catalysts at SunTrust... Target (TGT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill... TriState Capital (TSC) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Stephens... United Continental (UAL) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Evercore ISI... Vipshop (VIPS) upgraded to Buy from Hold at HSBC... Vocera (VCRA) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Craig-Hallum.
09:02 EDTSSprint volatility at low end of historic range into Q3
Sprint overall option implied volatility of 44 compares to its 26-week average of 50 according to Track Data, suggesting decreasing price movement into the expected release of Q3 results on May 5.
08:56 EDTTAT&T comments on merger bode well for Dycom, says FBR Capital
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06:50 EDTVZDisney, Fox refuse to run FiOS commercials, NY Times says
Disney (DIS) and 21st Century Fox (FOXA) are refusing to run commercials for Verizon (VZ) FiOS' slimmed down, a la carte package on a number of their stations, according to The New York Times. Disney, Fox and Comcast (CMCSA) have objected to FiOS' new offering, the news service stated. Reference Link
06:21 EDTTAT&T upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie
Macquarie upgraded AT&T (T) to Outperform and increased its price target to $37 from $33 following the Q1 report. The firm does not foresee any regulatory issues with the DirecTV (DTV) merger and recommends investors buy AT&T for increasing 2016 and beyond estimates, improving dividend coverage, free-cash-flow growth, and a potential $20B in assets that can be sold to deleverage, among other reasons.
April 23, 2015
14:20 EDTSEarnings Watch: Google up close to 8.5% since last earnings report
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11:19 EDTTAT&T eyes benchmark bond offering to back DirecTV merger, Forbes reports
AT&T (T) is shopping a benchmark offering of SEC-registered senior notes across as many as six tranches to back its planned merger with DirecTV (DTV), reports Forbes. The company is eyeing the placement of June-dated five-year notes in fixed- and/or floating-rate formats. Reference Link
10:05 EDTSSprint introduces Command Center 2.0 for enterprises
Sprint (S) announced it has launched its next-generation Command Center 2.0, which provides a centralized management platform across multiple technologies and simplifies the job of device management, in more than 200 countries. Sprint said its parent company, Softbank (SFTBF), not only supports the Command Center 2.0ís global extension but is also working with Sprint to use certain components of Command Center 2.0 for their customers.
05:31 EDTTADTRAN downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Goldman Sachs downgraded ADTRAN (ADTN) to Neutral after the company said on its Q1 earnings call that its deployment with AT&T (T) has been fully cancelled. Goldman expected the AT&T business to drive revenue and earnings reacceleration. It cut its price target for ADTRAN shares to $18 from $26.
April 22, 2015
19:14 EDTTOn The Fly: After Hours Movers
UP AFTER EARNINGS: Select Comfort (SCSS), up 3.3%... Alliance Fiber Optic (AFOP), up 6.9%... eBay (EBAY), up 6.2%... Cheesecake Factory (CAKE), up 5.6%... O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY), up 3.8%... Corelogic (CLGX), up 3.2%... Skechers (SKX), up 2.5%... AT&T (T), up 1.3%. ALSO HIGHER: ARRIS Group (ARRS), up 24.9% after acquiring Pace plc. for $2.1B in cash and stock... Esperion Therapeutics (ESPR), up 2.5% after being initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital... Uniqure (QURE), up 3.7% after being initiated with an Outperform at BMO Capital. DOWN AFTER EARNINGS: Texas Instruments (TXN), down 6.7%... Las Vegas Sands (LVS), down 4.2%... Oceaneering International (OII), down 3.7%... F5 Networks (FFIV), down 2.8%... Xilinx (XLNX), down 3.3%... Qualcomm (QCOM), down 3%... Facebook (FB), down 2.2%... Tractor Supply (TSCO), down 3.1%. ALSO LOWER: Noble Corp (NE), down 1.2% after being downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.
16:10 EDTTAT&T sees DirecTV deal closing in Q2
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16:08 EDTTAT&T Q1 wireless revenues up 1.8% to $18.2B
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16:03 EDTTAT&T says FY15 standalone guidance 'on track'
16:02 EDTTAT&T reports Q1 adjusted EPS 63c, consensus 62c
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15:30 EDTTNotable companies reporting after market close
Notable companies reporting after the market close, with earnings consensus, include eBay (EBAY), consensus 70c... Facebook (FB), consensus 40c... Texas Instruments (TXN), consensus 62c... Las Vegas Sands (LVS), consensus 72c... Qualcomm (QCOM), consensus $1.33... AT&T (T), consensus 62c... F5 Networks (FFIV), consensus $1.50... Plexus (PLXS), consensus 69c... Skechers (SKX), consensus $1.01... Select Comfort (SCSS), consensus 41c... Tractor Supply (TSCO), consensus 41c... Covanta (CVA), consensus (8c)... Crown Castle (CCI), consensus $1.09... Torchmark (TMK), consensus $1.05... Ameriprise (AMP), consensus $2.33... Polycom (PLCM), consensus 21c... Citrix (CTXS), consensus 65c... Core Laboratories (CLB), consensus 85c... Graco (GGG), consensus 78c... Cheesecake Factory (CAKE), consensus 48c... Equifax (EFX), consensus $1.02... SLM (SLM), consensus 7c... Xilinx (XLNX), consensus 50c... O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY), consensus $1.94... Susquehanna (SUSQ), consensus 18c... Raymond James (RJF), consensus 83c... SL Green Realty (SLG), consensus $1.49... CoreLogic (CLGX), consensus 31c... Oceaneering (OII), consensus 62c... Valmont (VMI), consensus $1.49... Brandywine Realty (BDN), consensus 32c... Weatherford (WFT), consensus 1c.
13:37 EDTSGoogle introduces Project Fi, to partner with Sprint, T-Mobile
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07:15 EDTWINCommunications Sales & Leasing initiated with an Overweight at Stephens
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06:25 EDTTFCC staff to meet with commissioners today on Comcast deal, Reuters reports
FCC staff is slated to brief the agency's commissioners later today on their review of Comcast's (CMCSA) proposed merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC), according to Reuters, which cited two unnamed sources. The staff is also slated to discuss its view of a $48B pending deal between AT&T (T) and DirecTV (DTV), the news agency quoted one of the sources as saying. Reference Link
06:01 EDTS, T, VZGoogle could launch wireless service today, WSJ reports
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