Centurylink (CTL) Cut to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Centurylink (NYSE:CTL) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “CenturyLink posted weak fourth-quarter 2017 financial results. The company continues to suffer from declining access lines and broadband subscriber losses. High debt levels and decreasing cash flows are likely to affect the company's margins. Technological changes compel large investments, which can dilute cash flow. Over the past six months, the stock price declined 1.4% as against the industry's 3.1% loss. On the flip side, CenturyLink remains focused on establishing itself as a global leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions arena for enterprise customers. The company unveiled a beta version of its OTT TV services. CenturyLink invests in fiber-to-the-tower expansion and has expanded its fiber-based backhaul services. Acquisition of Level 3 Communications will increase CenturyLink's network by 200,000 route miles of fiber.”

A number of other research analysts have also weighed in on the stock. Bank of America dropped their price target on shares of Centurylink from $42.00 to $27.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, November 10th. Deutsche Bank reissued a “hold” rating and set a $16.00 price target on shares of Centurylink in a research report on Thursday, November 9th. Royal Bank of Canada raised shares of Centurylink from a “sector perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 25th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $25.00 price objective on shares of Centurylink in a research report on Wednesday, November 1st. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group raised shares of Centurylink from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $19.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Monday, January 8th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating, seven have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $22.08.

Centurylink (NYSE:CTL) traded down $0.20 on Monday, hitting $18.93. 14,837,100 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 12,821,749. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.59, a current ratio of 0.86 and a quick ratio of 0.82. Centurylink has a one year low of $13.16 and a one year high of $27.61. The company has a market capitalization of $20,236.23, a price-to-earnings ratio of 10.76, a P/E/G ratio of -9.18 and a beta of 0.82.

Centurylink (NYSE:CTL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 14th. The technology company reported $0.18 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.32 by ($0.14). Centurylink had a net margin of 7.87% and a return on equity of 5.88%. The firm had revenue of $5.32 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.69 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.54 earnings per share. analysts predict that Centurylink will post 1.03 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Centurylink news, Director Virginia Boulet bought 5,095 shares of Centurylink stock in a transaction dated Monday, December 11th. The stock was purchased at an average price of $15.48 per share, for a total transaction of $78,870.60. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now directly owns 42,820 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $662,853.60. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO Glen F. Post III bought 50,000 shares of Centurylink stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 8th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $14.17 per share, with a total value of $708,500.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders acquired 150,595 shares of company stock worth $2,154,131. Insiders own 0.61% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Sawtooth Solutions LLC purchased a new position in shares of Centurylink in the fourth quarter worth about $1,036,000. OLD Mutual Customised Solutions Proprietary Ltd. increased its stake in shares of Centurylink by 82.0% in the fourth quarter. OLD Mutual Customised Solutions Proprietary Ltd. now owns 73,182 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $1,221,000 after purchasing an additional 32,982 shares in the last quarter. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Alberta as represented by Alberta Investment Management Corp increased its stake in shares of Centurylink by 239.0% in the fourth quarter. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Alberta as represented by Alberta Investment Management Corp now owns 843,380 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $14,068,000 after purchasing an additional 594,580 shares in the last quarter. PVG Asset Management Corp increased its stake in shares of Centurylink by 105.8% in the fourth quarter. PVG Asset Management Corp now owns 211,797 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $3,533,000 after purchasing an additional 108,872 shares in the last quarter. Finally, CapWealth Advisors LLC increased its stake in shares of Centurylink by 306.4% in the fourth quarter. CapWealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,300,009 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $21,684,000 after purchasing an additional 980,112 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 59.37% of the company’s stock.

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About Centurylink

CenturyLink, Inc is an integrated communications company. The Company is engaged in providing an array of communications services to its residential and business customers. Its segments include Enterprise, which provides strategic, legacy and data integration products and services to small, medium and enterprise business, wholesale and governmental customers, including other communication providers, and Consumer, which provides strategic and legacy products and services to residential customers.

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