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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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October 21, 2014
08:55 EDTVZVerizon sees price-sensetive pre-paid customers moving to post-paid
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07:40 EDTVZVerizon reports Q3 retail postpaid ARPA up 3.5% to $161.24
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07:36 EDTVZVerizon backs FY14 target of 4% consolidated top-line growth
FY14 revenue consensus $126.08B. For the full year, results for consolidated adjusted and wireless segment EBITDA service margin will be dependent on Q4 volumes and installment take rates. Wireline segment EBITDA margin remains on track to expand on a full-year basis, Verizon said.
07:34 EDTVZVerizon sees FY14 capital spending near $17B
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07:33 EDTVZVerizon CEO says seeing continued, healthy demand for wireless, broadband
Verizon Communications Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said: "We have great confidence heading into the fourth quarter, as Verizon continues to deliver consistently strong operating and financial results. We see continued, healthy customer demand for wireless and broadband services, and we are encouraged by the growth we are starting to see in the areas of video delivery and machine-to-machine. Our cash generation remains strong, and last month we were pleased to announce board approval of a quarterly dividend increase for the eighth consecutive year."
07:32 EDTVZVerizon reports Q3 EPS 89c, consensus 90c
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October 20, 2014
15:36 EDTVZNotable companies reporting before tomorrow's open
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15:19 EDTVZVerizon technical commentary before earnings
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13:53 EDTS, VZEarnings Preview: Verizon sentiment mixed ahead of Q3 report
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11:49 EDTSSprint to offer iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3
Sprint (S) announced that it will offer iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular (AAPL) and iPad mini 3 with Wi-Fi + Cellular later this week. iPad Air 2 is the first tablet from Apple to connect to Sprint Spark, an enhanced LTE service with the added capacity to greatly improve the performance of video and other bandwidth-intensive applications. iPad mini 3 will connect to Sprintís 4G LTE network. Customers can add iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3 to their Sprint Family Share Pack for an access charge of $10 per month per line. Through December 2015, Sprint will waive the $10 monthly access charge on iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3 added as new lines of service to any Sprint Family Share Pack 20GB or higher.
07:17 EDTVZVerizon weekly volatility elevated into Q3 and outlook
Verizon October weekly call option implied volatility is at 25, November and January is at 16; compared to its 26-week average of 15 according to Track Data, suggesting large near term price movement into the expected release of Q3 results on October 21.
07:15 EDTTAT&T weekly volatility elevated into Q3 and outlook
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October 19, 2014
14:39 EDTSSprint job cuts include 452 at Kansas headquarters, Bloomberg says
According to a filing yesterday with the Kansas Department of Commerce, the job cuts at Sprint that were announced earlier this month, will include 452 positions in Overland Park, Kansas, where the company is headquartered, says Bloomberg. Reference Link
October 16, 2014
08:29 EDTTAT&T sees 359K customers seek refunds for 'cramming' charges, Time reports
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October 15, 2014
10:51 EDTWINWindstream awarded four-year contract valued at $1.1M to deliver VLS network
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10:11 EDTT, FTRFrontier granted PURA approval for AT&T wireless ops. in Connecticut
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October 14, 2014
09:37 EDTVZActive equity options trading on open
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08:13 EDTVZCorvex says Crown Castle, Verizon deal would 'diversify' revenues
Corvex said, "A Verizon (VZ) tower deal would diversify Crown Castle's (CCI) revenues and deepen the company's relationship with arguably the U.S.'s strongest wireless company and operator of the country's most robust network. As the largest and most-focused U.S. tower operator and the largest operator of legacy carrier portfolios, Crown Castle could be the best strategic acquirer of Verizon's tower assets. That does not mean the company will be best positioned financially to provide the highest and best bid though. Based on recent press articles, the potential sale price for the Verizon towers could be approximately $6B. However, we strongly believe that the company should not issue any equity at recent prices, and certainly not to acquire more tower assets at premium prices when Crown Castle continues to trade at a material discount to both transaction multiples and publicly traded peers."
07:54 EDTST-Mobile, Sprint risk turnover courting lower-credit subscribers, WSJ says
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October 10, 2014
09:35 EDTSSprint downgraded to Sell from Hold at Evercore
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