Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Telephone & Data Systems (NYSE:TDS) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Wednesday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $35.00 price objective on the Wireless communications provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Telephone and Data Systems is experiencing strong smartphone demand at its wireless wing, U.S. Cellular. Also, the long-term higher ARPU and full utilization of LTE network capacity are expected to mitigate the operating cost headwinds. The device instalment plan is expected to offset losses from smartphone subsidies. The company, with its shared connect data plans, seeks to leverage from unprecedented data consumption trend. Moreover, the company is looking for lucrative opportunities to bring more fiber in order to better address services, both in its current footprint and adjacent areas. The company’s earnings estimate revision has been trending north over the past three months, highlighting bullish broker sentiment. However, high costs associated with network integration, aggressive equipment pricing and wireless technology upgrades are likely to put considerable pressure on the margins.”

Several other research firms have also recently commented on TDS. ValuEngine raised Telephone & Data Systems from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, October 3rd. Citigroup raised their price target on Telephone & Data Systems from $37.00 to $39.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, August 8th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut Telephone & Data Systems from a neutral rating to an underweight rating and set a $34.00 price target for the company. in a report on Wednesday, July 11th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. Telephone & Data Systems presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $36.00.

TDS opened at $31.70 on Wednesday. The company has a quick ratio of 2.75, a current ratio of 2.96 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47. The company has a market capitalization of $3.41 billion, a PE ratio of 59.19 and a beta of 0.83. Telephone & Data Systems has a 12 month low of $23.54 and a 12 month high of $32.89.

Telephone & Data Systems (NYSE:TDS) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, August 3rd. The Wireless communications provider reported $0.29 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.23 by $0.06. The business had revenue of $1.26 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.26 billion. Telephone & Data Systems had a return on equity of 1.98% and a net margin of 3.53%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.09 EPS. As a group, research analysts forecast that Telephone & Data Systems will post 0.68 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 28th. Investors of record on Friday, September 14th were paid a $0.16 dividend. This represents a $0.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.02%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 13th. Telephone & Data Systems’s payout ratio is currently 120.75%.

In related news, CAO Douglas W. Chambers sold 4,340 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $29.40, for a total value of $127,596.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief accounting officer now directly owns 10,545 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $310,023. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, VP Kurt B. Thaus sold 39,274 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $29.56, for a total value of $1,160,939.44. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 39,274 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,160,939.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 204,597 shares of company stock valued at $6,192,444 over the last ninety days. 16.27% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in Telephone & Data Systems by 12.5% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 16,961,259 shares of the Wireless communications provider’s stock valued at $465,075,000 after purchasing an additional 1,878,701 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its stake in Telephone & Data Systems by 2.7% in the 2nd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 8,091,599 shares of the Wireless communications provider’s stock valued at $221,871,000 after purchasing an additional 210,068 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC increased its stake in Telephone & Data Systems by 1.8% in the 2nd quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 3,308,508 shares of the Wireless communications provider’s stock valued at $90,719,000 after purchasing an additional 57,416 shares in the last quarter. Millennium Management LLC increased its stake in Telephone & Data Systems by 69.6% in the 1st quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 1,502,164 shares of the Wireless communications provider’s stock valued at $42,106,000 after purchasing an additional 616,324 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Northern Trust Corp increased its stake in Telephone & Data Systems by 12.6% in the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 1,382,258 shares of the Wireless communications provider’s stock valued at $37,901,000 after purchasing an additional 154,175 shares in the last quarter. 81.73% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Telephone & Data Systems Company Profile

Telephone and Data Systems, Inc, a telecommunications company, provides wireless, wireline, cable, and hosted and managed services in the United States. The company offers cellular services, such as postpaid national plans and prepaid service plans with voice, messaging, and data usage options; and business rate plans.

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