Verizon Given “Neutral” Rating at JPMorgan Chase (VZ)

Verizon (NYSE: VZ)‘s stock had its “neutral” rating reiterated by investment analysts at JPMorgan Chase in a note issued to investors on Wednesday. They currently have a $51.00 target price on the stock, up from their previous target price of $48.00.

The analysts wrote, “We raise our 1Q13 wireless margin estimate for Verizon to 49.5% from 48.6% due to lower than expected upgrades and lower iPhone mix q/q. While we estimate more Verizon customers are available for upgrade vs last year, subscribers seem to be holding onto smartphones longer given a post-holiday lull and no significant device launches. Our higher wireless margin is partially offset by a slower recovery in wireline and early year margin pressures. We now model a wireline margin of 21.7% from 21.9% previously. We now look for $0.65 in EPS for 1Q vs. our prior estimate of $0.63 and consensus at $0.65. We also raise our 2013 wireless margin estimate to 49.3%, up 268 bps y/y. Our EPS estimate for 2013 rises to $2.74 from $2.70 previously. We maintain our Neutral rating, but raise our price target to $51 from $48 previously.”

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) traded down 0.89% on Wednesday, hitting $49.04. Verizon has a 52-week low of $36.80 and a 52-week high of $49.17. The stock’s 50-day moving average is currently $46.32. The company has a market cap of $140.2 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 161.17.

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) last released its earnings data on Tuesday, January 22nd. The company reported $0.38 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.52 by $0.14. The company had revenue of $30.05 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $29.75 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.52 earnings per share. Verizon’s revenue was up 5.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts expect that Verizon will post $2.76 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Analysts at Raymond James reiterated an “outperform” rating on shares of Verizon in a research note to investors on Tuesday. They now have a $48.00 price target on the stock. Separately, analysts at Tigress Financial initiated coverage on shares of Verizon in a research note to investors on Monday. They set a “neutral” rating on the stock. Finally, analysts at Citigroup upgraded shares of Verizon from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note to investors on Monday, March 18th. They now have a $110.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $46.00.

One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and sixteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $50.30.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Wednesday, May 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, April 10th will be given a dividend of $0.52 per share. This represents a $2.06 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.16%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, April 8th.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is a holding company. The Company is a provider of communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses and governmental agencies.

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