For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - May 4, 2012 - Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Verizon Communications Inc. ( VZ), Google Inc. ( GOOG), Apple Inc. ( AAPL), AT&T Inc. ( T) and Sprint Nextel Corp. ( S).



Get the most recent insight from Zacks Equity Research with the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5513



Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:



Earnings Scorecard: Verizon



The largest U.S. mobile service provider Verizon Communications Inc. ( VZ) has made a good start to the year, generating double-digit earnings and cash flow growth in the first quarter of 2012.



First Quarter Review



Verizon's first quarter adjusted earnings outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny and were 8 cents above the year-ago earnings. Revenue improved on continued strong wireless, FiOS fiber-optic and strategic services.



Wireless revenue advanced on the back of strong data revenues and subscriber growth. Rapid expansion of 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) services and strong adoption of Google Inc.'s ( GOOG) Android smartphones led to the growth in retail wireless subscribers. Though the slowing growth in the U.S. mobile market led to the lower sales of Apple Inc.'s ( AAPL) iPhone, it boosted margins in the segment as subsidies fell.



Despite the solid momentum for FiOS fiber-optic network and strategic services, Wireline revenue dipped on lower global wholesale and other businesses. The penetration rate of both FiOS Internet and FiOS TV accelerated to approximately 36.4% and 32.3%, respectively.



Coming to liquidity, Verizon's cash balance has reached to less than half of $14 billion and debt rose by a significant $4 billion during the quarter.



(Read our full coverage on this earnings report: Verizon Outperforms, Adds Users)



Guidance



Despite the ongoing efforts to expand and improve both wireless and wireline networks, Verizon continues to focus on maximizing free cash flow. Management expects capital efficiency (capital expenditure-to-revenue ratio) to continue showing steady improvements; i.e. the ratio will decline throughout the year.



Agreement of Analysts



The covering analysts have mixed views for the second quarter, as depicted by their estimate revisions. Out of 26 analysts, 10 made positive revisions while 10 moved in the opposite direction over the last 30 days.



However, estimates reflect a positive bias for both fiscal 2012 and 2013 over the last 30 days. For fiscal 2012, 14 analysts out of 31 made upward revisions while 10 moved in the opposite direction. For fiscal 2013, out of the 29 covering analysts, 11 revised their estimates downward while 5 revised theirs positively.



The analysts believe that Verizon will see improved revenue and earnings based on both its wireless and wireline businesses. Verizon is experiencing solid momentum in its wireless business, as subscriber additions remains strong with a lower churn rate (customer switch to competitor), in fact the lowest in the industry.



The company is way ahead of its major rival AT&T Inc. ( T) and Sprint Nextel Corp. ( S) in terms of 4G deployments, which reached 230 markets covering more than 200 million people as of April 19. Verizon expects to expand its 4G networks to 400 markets by the end of this year and the entire nationwide 3G footprint by mid next year.



Further, the company will continue to achieve wireless growth and profitability with a focus on gaining share in the retail post-paid market, increasing the penetration of smartphones, and selling more Internet devices such as tablets.



In the Wireline business, Verizon will continue to improve long-term profitability by increasing FiOS penetration and strategic service offerings such as manage network, data center, security solutions, cloud and IT infrastructure as well as rationalizing its wireline cost structure.



However, some analysts are concerned about Verizon's potential spectrum deal setbacks. The company is facing stiff opposition regarding its spectrum deals with cable companies.



It will have an adverse impact on Verizon's financials should the deal fail. But if it succeeds, it might put pressure on the balance sheet in the short term by reducing cash balances and increasing capital expenditures before becoming accretive over the longer term.



Magnitude - Consensus Estimate Trend



The magnitude of revisions for the second quarter remained stable over the last 7 and 30 days at 63 cents.



The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2012 is $2.49, unchanged over the last 7 days but a penny higher in the last 30 days. Similarly, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2012 is stable at $2.78 over the last 7 days but a penny above in the last 30 days.



Earnings Surprises



With respect to earnings surprises, the company's fairly good track record is expected to continue in the coming quarters. Verizon produced a positive average earnings surprise of 1.75% over the last four quarters, indicating that it outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by that amount over the last year.



In the recently concluded quarter, the company surprised us by reporting earnings 3.51% higher than what we had expected.



Neutral Recommendation



Fiscal 2012 is expected to be profitable for Verizon considering the promises in both Wireless and Wireline businesses. Moreover, the company aims to enhance shareholder value throughout the year.



However, we remain skeptical about returns from the 4G wireless and wireline FiOS networks, persistent access line losses, heavy iPhone subsidies, hindrances in spectrum deals and intense competition from cable companies and other alternative service providers.



We are currently maintaining our long-term Neutral rating on Verizon. For the short term (1-3 months), the stock retains a Zacks #3 (Hold) Rank.



Want more from Zacks Equity Research? Subscribe to the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5515.



About Zacks Equity Research



Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.



Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.



Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5517



About Zacks



Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leon Zacks. As a PhD from MIT Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros. In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros at http://at.zacks.com/?id=5518.



Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.



Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/zacksresearch



Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/575536...



Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.



Media Contact

Zacks Investment Research

800-767-3771 ext. 9339
support@zacks.com
http://www.zacks.com

 
APPLE INC (AAPL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
GOOGLE INC-CL A (GOOG): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SPRINT NEXTEL (S): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AT&T INC (T): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
VERIZON COMM (VZ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
 
Zacks Investment Research



Filed Under: ,
Tickers in this Article: AAPL, GOOG, S, T, VZ

comments powered by Disqus

Trading Center