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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

Litecoin Update: Wyckoffian Accumulation Complete

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From a technical perspective, Litecoin (LTC/USD) has effectively ended its bear market. This statement may sound unbelievable to many; even to some bulls. We’ve decayed in a crypto winter for so long that many of us have forgotten what a bull market looks like. We’re so used to seeing bounces fade and eventually get dumped on, that we’ve grown skeptical of rallies.

However, this time it’s different. It truly is, and we have multiple reasons to back up this claim. In this article, we explore the signals that show how Litecoin completed its Wyckoffian Accumulation.

Smart Money Accumulation Complete

A bear market often does not end due to exhaustion. It usually ends because a big player has entered the market to stop the bleeding. This individual or entity, which we’ll refer to as the smart money, absorbs the intense selling pressure of a capitulating market while keeping the price relatively stable. During this period of the market cycle, the smart money accumulate positions.

We believe that Litecoin has already completed this market phase. Its daily chart shows many similarities to a Wyckoff Accumulation Schematic.

Wyckoff Accumulation (Source: Stockcharts)

Preliminary Support

The first similarity is the establishment of a preliminary support (PS). According to the Wyckoffian theory, the PS offers some semblance of support after a prolonged or substantial move down. In Litecoin’s case, it registered a PS of $27 on November 24, 2018. During this time, Litecoin showed signs of stability after weeks of massive selloffs led by Bitcoin’s (BTC/USD) break below $6,000.

LTC/USD Preliminary support

Selling Climax

The second similarity is the presence of a selling climax (SC) or capitulation which occurred on December 7, 2018. On that day, Litecoin recorded lows of $22.24 while generating volume that’s over 115% of its daily average. The heavy volume points to the emergence of a big player. Also, notice how Litecoin managed to stay above $22 for about a week. This is another indication the smart money protected the bottom.

LTC/USD Selling Climax

Automatic Rally

The third similarity is the automatic rally (AR) after the selloff. The AR happens due to the selling relief provided by the conclusion of the SC. With reduced selling, buyers can easily push the price up. In the case of Litecoin, the AR drove the price to as high as $36.78 on December 24.

LTC/USD Automatic Rally

Secondary Test

The fourth similarity to the Wyckoff Accumulation is the secondary test (ST). During this stage of the accumulation, the price revisits previous lows to test the supply and demand. In Litecoin’s case, the ST coincides with the PS at $27.

LTC/USD Secondary Test

Last Point of Support

Like clockwork, Litecoin printed two last points of supports (LPS). The LPS is described as a previous resistance that was flipped into support. For instance, the first LPS was posted on January 13, 2019 when the market was trading at $30. Notice how the market struggled to go above this level between December 17 – 20, 2018. On January 13, Litecoin flipped this into support.

LTC/USD first last point of support

The second LPS of $32 was printed on February 2, 2019. Notice how Litecoin struggled to go above $32 from January 13 to February 1. When the market conquered this level, it did not look back.

LTC/USD second last point of support

Signs of Strength

Lastly, Litecoin showed signs of strength (SOS) on February 8 when it took out resistance of $40 with heavy volume. The volume printed on that day was over 390% of its daily average. To put that into perspective, that was Litecoin’s highest volume in one year.

LTC/USD signs of strength

With so many striking similarities with the Wyckoff Accumulation Schematic, we believe that Litecoin has completed this phase of the market cycle. Next comes the markup, which is most commonly known as the uptrend or the bull run. For this cycle, our minimum target is $110.

Bottom Line

Claiming that Litecoin is ready for a bull run may sound absurd to many. However, we dissected the market’s movement over the last few months and discovered that it has most likely completed a Wyckoffian Accumulation phase. If that’s the case, our minimum target for the markup is $110.

 

Disclaimer: The writer owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of 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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3.9 stars on average, based on 331 rated postsKiril is a CFA Charterholder and financial professional with 5+ 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 funds, as he does his own crypto research and is a Product Manager at Mitre Media. 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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Altcoins

Litecoin Price Analysis: LTC/USD on a Potential Launchpad for Another Rocket to the North

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  • The Litecoin (LTC) price remains elevated, as the bulls look at continuing the strong recent run higher.
  • Coinbase Wallet announces support for Litecoin, joining the likes of bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETH).

LTC/USD: Recent Price Behavior

The LTC/USD bulls have resumed upside momentum, following brief and minor pullback observed in the session on Thursday. At the time of writing Litecoin is seen trading up in minor positive territory, with gains of around 1.5%. It is worth noting, since 8th February the price has gained as much as 60%, with the high print up at $53.65 produced on 20th February.

The big chunky jump north came after the price managed to escape a narrowing daily range block formation. LTC/USD was moving within the confinements of this for 11 January to 8th February. The breakout higher was very much explosive, given the prolonged period it has traded within. In terms of the initial spike observed on the 8th, it was a gain of around 45% in a single session.

Coinbase Wallet to Support Litecoin

Coinbase, the leading U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, announced it will now support LTC on their native Coinbase Wallet. This will allow users to store their LTC directly on the app. The fifth largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization will be joining the likes of bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETH).

Users of the Coinbase Wallet are going to have the ability to download a required update with Litecoin support in the coming weeks via the Apple Store or Google Play Store. Storing LTC will be immediately available upon the completion of the update. Users will need to choose the ‘Receive’ option; this can be observed on the main wallet page to deposit LTC into the wallet.

In the official blog announcement, Coinbase said:

“The new Wallet update with Litecoin support will roll out to all users on iOS and Android over the next few weeks. LTC support is activated by default — all you need to do is tap ‘Receive’ on the main wallet tab and select Litecoin to send LTC to your Coinbase Wallet.”

Technical Review – LTC/USD

LTC/USD daily chart.

The Litecoin price has stabilized at heights above the psychological $50 price mark. A near-term area of demand is seen from the $50-$47 price range, which is helping keep LTC/USD propped up. The next upside targets for the bulls are seen just above a supply zone tracking from $55-$57. It last traded up at these heights back in November 2018. Should the bulls manage to maintain upside momentum, then eyes will be on a return into $65 territory, where the next area of supply is tracking.

In terms of support, as detailed earlier, immediate relief is found within the $50-$47 range. If this fails to hold, then a potential chunky wave of selling pressure would likely come into play. The next demand area to the downside runs from $42.50-$39.50; price last traded here between 9-16th February. LTC/USD had briefly consolidated within this zone before a further squeeze to the north occurred.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

 Featured image courtesy of 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 126 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Analysis

Crypto Update: Coins Hold Their Ground as Bulls Take a Breather

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The major cryptocurrencies settled down following yesterday’s Litecoin-led pullback, and as the coins respected the key trendlines and support levels, odds favor the continuation of the short-term uptrend. The leaders of the rally remained strong amid the shallow correction, and although the long-term setup remains clearly bearish, the traders could enter smaller speculative positions, still using strict risk management rules.

While the top coins haven confirmed the short-term swing lows yet, the coming days could see new highs, with all eyes on the $4000-$4050 zone in Bitcoin and the $160 price level in Ethereum. The majors still have to form a pattern of higher highs and higher lows on the long-term charts to change the long-term outlook, so our trend model remains on sell signals on that time-frame. That said, the overbought short-term momentum readings are quickly being cleared, so the short-term outlook remains positive.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Bitcoin has formed a bullish consolidation pattern in the past day, and the $3850 level has been clearly supporting the coin, leaving the relatively weak short-term uptrend firmly intact. The MACD indicator is still pointing to an ongoing correction, but our trend model remained on a buy signal on the short-term time frame, and the uptrend could soon resume.

Despite the positive immediate outlook, the $4000-$4050 resistance zone is still very strong, and further consolidation is also possible before a successful break-out. A move above that zone could open up the way towards the $4450 level, but even that wouldn’t change the bearish long-term setup in the most valuable coin’s market.

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ripple has been trading near the $0.32 support level in the past 24 hours, still being relatively weak compared to its major peers.  The coin remains stuck below the dominant declining short-term trendline that it tested during the recent upswing, and our trend model continues to be on a short-term sell signal.

Below the primary support zone, further levels are found near $0.30, $0.28, and $0.26, while short-term targets for a possible break-out are still ahead near $0.3550, and $0.3750, but traders should still stay away from XRP

Litecoin, Ethereum, and EOS Look Ready to Lead Again

LTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While Litecoin entered a correction after touching the $51 resistance level yesterday, the pullback has been contained so far and even the steep short-term uptrend line remained intact. Given the extent of the recent move higher, even a test of the $44 level would leave the break-out intact.

A move above the primary resistance zone could lead to a rally towards the $56 level, and as Litecoin has been leading the market during the current counter-trend advance, its performance should be monitored closely. Below $44 further strong support is found near $38, and $34.50, and our trend model is back on a short-term buy signal while being bearish from a long-term standpoint.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum is still trading in a bullish short-term correction pattern near $145, working its way through the overbought short-term momentum readings. The short-term uptrend is clearly intact, and although a deeper pullback is still possible traders could already enter new positions here.

With the long-term downtrend in mind, strict risk management rules are still essential here, even as Ethereum is one of the strongest majors from a short-term technical point of view. Support levels below $145 are still found near $130 and $112, while above $160, the next major resistance zone is ahead near $180.

EOS/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EOS is still the strongest major from a short-term technical standpoint, and although it continues to be overbought according to the key momentum indicators, aggressive traders could enter positions here. Buying pressure is apparent in the coin, but a deeper pullback towards the $3.50 level is still in the cards. Support is also found near $3.80 and $3, while resistance is ahead near $4 and $4.50.

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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4.7 stars on average, based on 470 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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