CenturyLink Inc. (CTL) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE:CTL) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “CenturyLink’s Prism TV services bode well and has brought in revenues. This growing momentum of Prism IPTV service has prompted the company to plan the 17 Channel over the top (OTT) services launch in the beginning of 2017 which should boost the company’s video segment business. CenturyLink’s investment in the fiber-to-the-tower (FTTT) has expanded its fiber-based backhaul services. The company is also focused on establishing itself as a global leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions arena designed for enterprise customers. However, the company is facing mounting competitive pressure which led to the decision of cutting 8% of its labor force which accounts to almost 3,000 to 3,500 workers losing their jobs. Moreover, loss of high-speed broadband subscribers, falling low-bandwidth data services revenues, intensifying competition, federal regulations and the need to upgrade technology remain potent headwinds.”

Several other equities analysts have also recently commented on the company. Macquarie reaffirmed a neutral rating and issued a $30.00 price target (down previously from $31.00) on shares of CenturyLink in a report on Tuesday, September 13th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a sell rating on shares of CenturyLink in a report on Friday, September 2nd. Vetr raised CenturyLink from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $29.33 price target for the company in a report on Wednesday, August 31st. RBC Capital Markets reissued a sector perform rating and issued a $31.00 target price (up from $29.00) on shares of CenturyLink in a report on Wednesday, August 10th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada increased their target price on CenturyLink from $29.00 to $31.00 and gave the stock a sector perform rating in a report on Monday, August 8th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $28.44.

CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) opened at 27.90 on Thursday. The firm has a market cap of $15.23 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.62 and a beta of 0.80. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $27.54 and its 200-day moving average price is $28.99. CenturyLink has a 12 month low of $21.94 and a 12 month high of $32.94.

CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 3rd. The company reported $0.63 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.59 by $0.04. The firm earned $440 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.39 billion. CenturyLink had a return on equity of 11.02% and a net margin of 5.47%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down .5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.55 EPS. Equities research analysts predict that CenturyLink will post $2.53 earnings per share for the current year.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Columbia Partners L L C Investment Management acquired a new position in CenturyLink during the first quarter valued at approximately $980,000. Acrospire Investment Management LLC acquired a new position in CenturyLink during the first quarter valued at approximately $109,000. Bessemer Group Inc. increased its position in CenturyLink by 44.5% in the first quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 3,450 shares of the company’s stock valued at $110,000 after buying an additional 1,062 shares during the period. Aviva PLC increased its position in CenturyLink by 0.6% in the first quarter. Aviva PLC now owns 276,757 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,845,000 after buying an additional 1,587 shares during the period. Finally, Carnick & Kubik LLC increased its position in CenturyLink by 4.1% in the first quarter. Carnick & Kubik LLC now owns 40,700 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,301,000 after buying an additional 1,595 shares during the period. 73.31% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About CenturyLink

CenturyLink, Inc is an integrated communications company. The Company is engaged in providing an array of communications services to residential and business customers. The Company’s segments include Business and Consumer. Its communications services include local and long-distance voice, high-speed Internet, Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), private line (including special access), data integration, Ethernet, colocation, managed hosting (including cloud hosting), network, public access, video, wireless and other ancillary services.

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