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Telecoms Outpace Tech Stocks In July; For How Long?

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Tech stocks might have led indexes to new highs this year, but in July, telecoms displaced tech stocks as the leading S&P 500 performers. Telecoms rose 5.1%, eclipsing the tech sector’s 4.1% gain and doubling the S&P 500’s gains, according to The Financial Times.

While tech stock showed weakening signs, investors favored AT&T Inc. The Financial Times noted strong results from both AT&T and Verizon this past week that compensated for concerns about heightened competition from smaller players like Spring Corp. and T-Mobile US.

Verizon

Verizon

Verizon operates in 150 countries and is the world’s second largest telecom behind China Mobile Ltd., and the largest in the United States, according to Investopedia.

Its market value was estimated at $191.72 billion as of April 2017, with of $131.8 billion, according to Forbes. The company formed in 2000 as a result of a merger between Bell Atlantic Corp and GTE Corp. In 2015, Verizon acquired AOL following a purchase the previous year of Vodafone’s 45% interest stake in Verizon stock.

Verizon reported second quarter revenue that surpassed expectations last week as the company attracted more subscribers with its unlimited data plan.

In the quarter, Verizon added 614,000 subscribers, including tablet customers, compared to an increase of 615,000 in the year-earlier period. The additions exceeded the JPMorgan estimate of 115,000 and consensus expectations of 70,000, JPMorgan analysts said in a research note.

Second quarter net income rose to $4.36 billion, or $1.07 per share, from $702 million, 17 cents per share, a year earlier.

Total operating revenue rose to $30.55 billion from $30.53 billion a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings per share of 96 cents on revenue of $29.91 billion are expected, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

AT&T

AT&T

AT&T Inc. is the world’s third largest telecom and the second largest in the U.S. with a market value of $245.58 billion. The company provides voice services in more than 200 countries and has more than 34,000 Wi-Fi hotspots. According to its website, AT&T serves more than 355 million people. It recently expanded AT&T GigaPower, a fast Internet service, to 56 metropolitan locations in the U.S., with plans for further expansion. In 2006, the company acquired BellSouth. In 2014, it purchased DirecTV $48.5 billion, allowing the company to provide customers the option to bundle more services into the same package.

AT&T Inc.’s stock looks poised to regain its 2017 high after the company on Tuesday delivered its first earnings bear in five quarters, noted investorplace.com. The stock rose as much as 3% in the after-hour session Tuesday, breaking above $37 on strong volume due to better-than- expected second quarter of 2017 results.

The company’s second-quarter earnings were 79 cents per share, up from 72 cents a year ago, with revenue declining 1.7% to $39.8 billion. Wall Street was looking for a profit of 74 cents on $39.80 billion in revenue. Wireless revenue was flat at $9.73 billion, while legacy voice and data service revenue declined by about 16% year over year to $3.5 billion.

AT&T was still able to meet expectations even as it continues to scale back in consumer mobility and legacy wirelines business.

Telecom Competition Intensifies

Telecom competitors expanded consumers’ access to unlimited data plans, The Financial Times noted. Colby Synesael, a Cowen analyst, said a rebound in subscriber metrics unexpectedly boosted the telecom industry’s wireless revenue, which surpassed analysts’ estimates.

Whether Level 3 Communications and CenturyLink continue to rise could depend on quarterly results released following Wednesday’s close of trading.

Level 3 Communications

LVLT

Level 3 Communications Inc. reported strong results for the second quarter as its bottom and top lines beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Net income on a GAAP basis in the quarter was $154 million, 42 cents per share, compared to $156 million or 44 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. But quarterly adjusted earnings per share of 42 cents outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 39 cents. The bottom line declined 19.23%.

Total second-quarter 2017 revenue was $2,061 million, up 0.24% year over year and above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,059.5 million.

Century Link Inc.

CTL

CenturyLink Inc. had mixed results in the second quarter of 2017. The bottom line fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate, while the top line surpassed it.

CenturyLink’s second quarter net income was $17 million or 3 cents per share, compared to $196 million or 36 cents in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted earnings per share of 46 cents missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 49 cents. In addition, the bottom line fell 26.98% on a year-over-year basis.

Second quarter operating revenue was $4,090 million compared to $4,398 million in the prior-year quarter. The decline can be attributed to a drop in legacy revenues and the revenue reduction from the colocation sale effective May 1. But the top line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4,085 million.

Quarterly operating expenses were $3,723 million, down 1% year over year. Operating income, meanwhile decreased to $367 million from $647 million in second-quarter 2016. Operating income margin was 9.0% versus 14.7% in the year-ago quarter.

Adjusted EBITDA excluding special items fell to $1,316 million from $1,634 million in 2016’s second quarter on account of a decline in operating revenues. Lower operating expenses partially offset the decline. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 32.2% versus 37.2% in the year-ago quarter.

Are Telecoms Bargains?

Investors could be bargain hunting the sector since the telecom index is one of only two wider sectors to post declines so far in 2017, the other being energy. Energy posted slight gains in July, pushed by a rise in crude prices that bottomed out in June.

Telecom’s surge stems in part from being undervalued when highly valued tech stocks have slowed or fallen as investors reconsider the market’s outlook. The next sustained decline could test whether telecoms have longer staying power or fall with other sectors.

To evaluate a telecom, it is important to consider metrics affecting that industry, according to Investopedia.

Telecom Evaluation Metrics

Average return per user (ARPU) is critical for telecoms because it illustrates a company’s operational performance. The company’s ability to maximize profits and minimize costs involved in servicing customers is important. Since these companies are service providers rather than product manufacturers, investors must consider marginal profit and cost per unit to determine how well the company uses its resources. The higher the average return, the better.

Telecoms that offer bundling services usually have a higher ARPU.

Churn, often reported quarterly, measures the number of subscribers who leave the company. A low churn rate is desirable. Companies with a high churn rate face more pressure to generate revenue from other areas or gain new clients.

A telecom’s future growth also relies heavily on its ability to grow its customer base. Hence, subscriber growth is a critical metric. A solid subscriber growth rate reflects a competitive telecom that is keeping up with technology trends, keeping customers satisfied and attracting new ones.

In evaluating any stock, investors need to consider earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, free cash flow and debt-to-equity, according to Investopedia. Evaluating a stock also requires a specific understanding of the company’s sector and industry, in addition to knowledge about the forces affecting companies in the same category.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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3.9 stars on average, based on 8 rated postsLester Coleman is a veteran business journalist based in the United States. He has covered the payments industry for several years and is available for writing assignments.




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Analysis

Crypto Update: Divergence Deepens as Altcoins Fall, Bitcoin Flat

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The unusual discrepancy between BTC and the rest of the cryptocurrency market continued today, with the top 10 coins all losing ground with the exception of Bitcoin itself. Tuesday’s surge, which carried the segment to $300 billion in total market cap quickly fizzled out, at least as far as the major altcoins are concerned, but the largest digital currency is still holding on above the strong $7000 and $7350 support/resistance levels.

Altcoins are on short-term sell signals according to our trend model, but Bitcoin is still on a buy signal as the declining trend was broken by the break-out that remains intact, despite the segment-wide weakness.

Given the mixed, but one-sided setup, and the lack of bullish follow-through, odds still favor a bearish outcome, and traders should remain cautious with new positions here, even in BTC, the positive outlier. A broad trend change would require a meaningful leadership, and until that develops, a test of t eh June lows remains likely, with the possibility of new lows in the coming week as well.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While Bitcoin failed to durably stay above the $7500 level, bulls successfully defended the support zone near $7350, despite the overbought short-term momentum readings. The coin is well above the line-in-the-sand $7000 level and the long-term support near $5850 that was in danger just one week ago.

Although the altcoin weakness makes BTC’s rally suspicious, the short-term bullish pattern is intact, as is the buy signal in our trend model. Further support is found at $6750, and $6500, while primary resistance is still ahead at $7650.

Selling Pressure Apparent in Altcoins

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

All intraday rally attempts have been sold so far in most of the major altcoins, and Ethereum is just holding up above primary support at $450 despite the rally in the beginning of the week. The coin is on a short-term sell signal, and a test of the June lows is likely after the failed break-out. Strong resistance is ahead at $500 and between $555 and $575, while support is found at $420, $400, $380, and $360.

XMR/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While Monero has been holding up relatively well in the last couple of days after getting stuck below the $150 level during the Tuesday surge, but the coin is still among the structurally weak majors, being on a long-term sell signal. As the other bearish leaders, NEO, LTC, and Dash are also trading below key long-term levels, we expect the coin to fall back below the $125 support and likely test the June lows in the coming weeks.

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The third largest coin Ripple is already testing the $0.45 level after drifting lower ever since the Tuesday rally, and as its relative weakness is still clear, a break below that level seems to be imminent. Below that, the crucial long-term support zone near $0.42 could stop the decline of XRP again, but a move under that could trigger a long-term sell signal.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Disclaimer:  The analyst owns cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but doesn’t engage in short-term or day-trading, nor does he hold short positions on any of the coins.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Analysis

Forex Update: Boring Means Long-Term Sustainability for EUR/INR

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Billionaire investor George Soros once said, “If investing is entertaining, if you’re having fun, you’re probably not making any money. Good investing is boring.” As an experienced investor, I couldn’t agree more. There’s a lot of waiting and sitting involved but that’s how money is made in investing. The Euro/Indian Rupee (EUR/INR) pair seems to be the perfect embodiment of this quote.

Looking as far back as 1999, it appears that EUR/INR has been in an unstoppable bull run since the second half of 2002. If you invested in the pair a decade and a half ago, you would have more than doubled your money. Chances are you didn’t, but don’t fret because you can always invest today. EUR/INR looks as strong today as it did back then.

In this article, we show how EUR/INR is looking strong on all counts despite being boring.

Healthy Ascending Channel on the Daily Chart  

EUR/INR dropped to as low as 67.9819 on April 10, 2017 and it was nothing but blue skies since. It is trading within an ascending channel as it generates higher highs and higher lows in a sustainable manner. The ascending channel looks healthy, too, as the trading range is not significantly contracting or expanding.


Daily chart of EUR/INR

If you look at the technical indicators, everything is fairly clear. EUR/INR rallies when it flashes oversold readings. On the other hand, it corrects when it is overbought. You won’t find excitement here and that’s good news for long term investors.

Concluded Corrective Wave on the Weekly

EUR/INR started showing signs of weakness in September 2013 when it posted a shooting star weekly candle. The ensuing pullback drove the pair down to the 65 levels in March 2015 (A-wave). The market has not visited that price area since. It managed to generate a bullish higher low setup at 68 (C-wave). This was a clear signal to investors that the correction was over.

Weekly chart of EUR/INR

With a higher low in place, EUR/INR took out resistance of 76. The new support level was tested and retested before the pair mounted a strong rally. On top of that, we can see a hidden bullish divergence on the weekly RSI, hinting that the uptrend is in a good shape.

Even in the weekly chart, the market is not pulling any surprises. There are no false breaks and no shakedowns. You don’t have to look close to see where the market is headed. EUR/INR is boring and that’s why it is strong.

Major Support Line on the Monthly Intact

Conventional wisdom says to buy low and sell high. The problem with this is that you don’t really know when is the market low. The market can go down as there’s always the possibility that a key support can break. That’s just not the case for EUR/INR.

Monthly chart of EUR/INR

Buying low is fairly simple in this case. All investors have to do is to wait for the price to hit the long-term support. Investors can be confident in doing so because the trend line has been intact for over 15 years. More importantly, it bounces every time it hit the support. It’s not really exciting but it works.

Bottom Line

A famous billionaire trader once said that good investing is boring, and I agree. Look at the charts of EUR/INR and you’ll see why boring investing is good.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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3.6 stars on average, based on 201 rated postsKiril is a financial professional with 4+ years of experience in financial writing, analysis and product ownership. He has passed all three CFA exams on first attempt and has a bachelor's degree with a specialty in finance. Kiril’s current focus is on cryptocurrencies and ETFs, as he does his own crypto research and is the subject matter expert at ETFdb.com. He also has his personal website, InvestorAcademy.org where he teaches people about the basics of investing. His ultimate goal is to help people with limited knowledge of finance and investments to create investment portfolios easily, and in line with their unique circumstances.




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Analysis

Pre-Market: China Tries to Support Markets as Global Stocks Slide

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Yesterday’s risk-off shift continued today in early trading with nervous and choppy trading in Asia and Europe, as global financial markets are still haunted by trade war fears and emerging market weakness. The major US indices rolled over after another period of apparent relative strength, with the Nasdaq being the most robust market once again, while most of the key European benchmarks continue to lag behind.

S&P 500 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Chinese assets are still in focus before the weekend, as the Yuan’s recent steep devaluation sparked fears of a credit meltdown in the country. With the largest credit bubble in human history casting its shadow on China, some analysts think that with Trump’s trade war, the bug finally found its windshield and the bubble already started to burst.

USD/Yuan, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

All eyes are on the USD/Yuan pair as Chinese authorities are reportedly intervening in the market of the currency, and most likely local equities as well, trying to prevent a serious run on the most important assets.

With the Chinese stock market already in a bear market, and the Yuan trading at fresh 12-month lows against the Dollar, it might be a bit late to stop the slide, but the intervention could cause spectacular short squeezes.

Italy also made headlines today during the European session, as Italian government bonds got slammed lower, as the future of the new finance minister is uncertain, with another round of political turmoil possibly ahead for Europe’s most vulnerable country.

Unicredit (UCG), 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Looking at the charts of Italian banks, it’s clear that the spring turmoil had a lasting effect on the financial system, as Unicredit is on the verge of hitting a new low, and the other large players also remain under pressure, in part explaining the general weakness in European equities.

Europe Still Far Behind amid Mixed Economic Numbers

USD/CAD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The economic calendar is almost empty today with regards to the key markets, as the Canadian Retail Sales and CPI reports are the most important releases. The Canadian Dollar rebounded when the USD entered a correction June, but now the currency edging lower again, as the weakness in commodities and the Greenback’s rally are taking their toll. New highs are likely in the USD/CAD pair in the coming weeks, although strong resistance is just ahead at 1.33.

Commodities are little changed today after yesterday’s volatile session, as the bounce in China helped to stabilize the segment. Notably copper is back above the key $2.70 level, while WTI crude oil is trading at $68 per barrel again, and gold is hovering around $1225.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 297 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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