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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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August 28, 2015
05:59 EDTS, TSprint offers DirecTV customers free year of cell service
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August 27, 2015
20:05 EDTS, TSprint offers DirecTV customers free year of cell service, WSJ says
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11:43 EDTTAT&T management to meet with
Meetings to be held in Boston/New York September 2-3 hosted by Jefferies.
11:25 EDTVZ, S, TSamsung Pay beta available on all U.S. carriers except Verizon, Verge reports
Samsung (SSNLF) Pay's beta is available on all major U.S. carriers, including AT&T (T), Sprint (S), T-Mobile (TMUS), and U.S. Cellular (USM), except for Verizon (VZ), the Verge reports. Verizon is "evaluating" Samsung Pay currently, and may very well miss the September 28th launch of the product, the report says. Reference Link
05:36 EDTVZVerizon FiOS reaches agreement with Entertainment Studios
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August 26, 2015
13:45 EDTTAT&T ends airport Wi-Fi ads experiment, Re/code reports
AT&T has ended serving ads to consumers using its free Wi-Fi at two Washington, D.C.-area airports, Re/code reports. The company told Re/code that it was conducting an experiment of "an ongoing effort to explore alternate ways to deliver a free Wi-Fi service that is safe, secure and fast." Reference Link
12:30 EDTTAT&T may need to choose between dividend and credit rating, CTFN reports
AT&T, despite acquiring DirecTV, may have to choose between maintaining its credit rating and its dividend in a few years as web video displaces satellite, CTFN reports, citing two credit analysts and a senior executive. AT&T has reduced the pressure from high dividend payments after the DirecTV purchase, but "it could be back in the same situation within three years if DirecTV's cash flow isn't sustainable," according to Mark Stodden, VP and senior credit officer at Moody's. AT&T spokesperson said that any suggestion that it needs to reduce its dividend "ignores the facts," the report says. Reference Link
09:33 EDTSActive equity options trading on open
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06:22 EDTVZGoogle fear Verizon, T-Mobile cell signs could crowd WiFi channels, WSJ says
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06:07 EDTVZVerizon confirms availability of hum to create connected driving experience
Verizon Telematics confirmed the commercial availability of hum, an aftermarket vehicle technology and subscription service that enables drivers on the road to make their car smarter through a simple solution regardless of their wireless service provider. First announced in January at the North American International Auto Show as Verizon Vehicle, hum provides subscribers with a self-installed solution that helps predict potential issues, prevents breakdowns and offers protection when problems do arise. At the simple press of a button, drivers receive diagnostic information, pinpoint roadside assistance and live consultation with ASE-certified mechanics and emergency personnel on-demand. Through GPS-based technology, hum helps accurately dispatch advanced roadside assistance, alerts emergency personnel of a car's location if a crash is detected, and assists authorities in locating a vehicle that has been reported stolen. Two year subscription plans start at $14.99 per month plus taxes, fees and equipment for the first vehicle with the option to add other vehicles for less.
06:02 EDTVZVerizon to announce Hum to connect older cars, The Verge reports
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August 25, 2015
06:25 EDTTAT&T to rebrand services in Mexico, WSJ reports
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06:06 EDTSStocks with implied volatility below IV index mean; S GOOG
Stocks with implied volatility below IV index mean; Sprint (S) 77, Google (GOOG) 41 according to iVolatility.
05:59 EDTVZStocks with implied volatility movement; WMB VZ
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August 24, 2015
16:00 EDTTOptions Update; August 24, 2015
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August 23, 2015
19:13 EDTT, VZBT executive says Verizon, AT&T abusing landline duopoly, FT reports
In a Financial Times interview published Sunday, BT Group's (BT) Americas president Bas Burger said Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) are abusing their control over telephone and broadband lines to charge inappropriate access fees to companies like BT. "For a western world country it is the worst I've seen... There is not sufficient regulation to create competition: almost all access is being provided by two companies and they have divided the country among themselves," remarked Burger, adding that the two companies are also not required to fix network problems within any specific timeframe. Reference Link
August 20, 2015
16:48 EDTWINOn The Fly: Top stock stories for Thursday
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15:56 EDTWINWindstream said to hire RBC to explore sale of data storage business
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14:05 EDTWINWindstream said to hire RBC to explore sale of data storage business
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08:02 EDTFTR, VZ, S, TFCC to hold a conference and workshop
2015 Supplier Diversity Conference & Workshop is being held at FCC Washington, D.C. offices on August 20 at 9:30 am. Webcast Link
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