Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE:CTL) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report published on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “CenturyLink is facing mounting competitive pressure. The company has decided to cut 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 and falling low-bandwidth data services revenues raise concern. Further, intensifying competition, federal regulations and the constant need to upgrade technology remain potent headwinds. However, CenturyLink’s Prism TV services are doing considerably well and should bring in substantial revenues. Meanwhile, the company plans to launch its 17 Channel over the top (OTT) services in the beginning of 2017. CenturyLink’s investment in the fiber-to-the-tower (FTTT) has expanded its fiber-based backhaul services.”

Several other research firms have also recently issued reports on CTL. Evercore ISI assumed coverage on shares of CenturyLink in a research report on Tuesday, June 21st. They set a hold rating and a $28.00 price objective for the company. Vetr raised shares of CenturyLink from a strong sell rating to a hold rating and set a $29.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Wednesday, July 6th. Macquarie assumed coverage on shares of CenturyLink in a research report on Monday, July 11th. They set a neutral rating and a $31.00 price objective for the company. Morgan Stanley cut shares of CenturyLink from an equal weight rating to an underweight rating and decreased their price objective for the stock from $31.00 to $27.00 in a research report on Monday, July 18th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada lifted their price objective on shares of CenturyLink from $29.00 to $31.00 and gave the stock a sector perform rating in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $28.37.

Analyst Recommendations for CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL)

Shares of CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) opened at 27.76 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $15.16 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.54 and a beta of 0.80. CenturyLink has a 12 month low of $21.94 and a 12 month high of $32.94. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $27.81 and its 200 day moving average price is $29.21.

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

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 16th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 2nd were paid a $0.54 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, August 31st. This represents a $2.16 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 7.78%. CenturyLink’s dividend payout ratio is presently 120.67%.

In other CenturyLink news, Director Harvey P. Perry sold 20,000 shares of CenturyLink stock in a transaction on Wednesday, July 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $31.00, for a total value of $620,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. 0.61% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Acrospire Investment Management LLC acquired a new position in CenturyLink during the first quarter worth approximately $109,000. Bessemer Group Inc. raised its position in shares of CenturyLink by 44.5% in the first quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 3,450 shares of the company’s stock worth $110,000 after buying an additional 1,062 shares during the period. FUKOKU MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE Co raised its position in shares of CenturyLink by 14.7% in the second quarter. FUKOKU MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE Co now owns 3,892 shares of the company’s stock worth $113,000 after buying an additional 500 shares during the period. Washington Trust Bank raised its position in shares of CenturyLink by 1.6% in the third quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 4,672 shares of the company’s stock worth $128,000 after buying an additional 75 shares during the period. Finally, Bellwether Investment Group LLC purchased a new position in shares of CenturyLink during the second quarter worth about $134,000. Institutional investors own 73.33% of the company’s stock.

CenturyLink Company Profile

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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