CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is one of 47 public companies in the “Integrated Telecommunications Services” industry, but how does it weigh in compared to its rivals? We will compare CenturyLink to similar businesses based on the strength of its valuation, profitability, earnings, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, dividends and risk.

Risk & Volatility

CenturyLink has a beta of 0.89, suggesting that its share price is 11% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, CenturyLink’s rivals have a beta of 1.07, suggesting that their average share price is 7% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares CenturyLink and its rivals revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue EBITDA Price/Earnings Ratio
CenturyLink $16.97 billion $6.06 billion 27.51
CenturyLink Competitors $12.65 billion $4.22 billion 1.08

CenturyLink has higher revenue and earnings than its rivals. CenturyLink is trading at a higher price-to-earnings ratio than its rivals, indicating that it is currently more expensive than other companies in its industry.

Dividends

CenturyLink pays an annual dividend of $2.16 per share and has a dividend yield of 11.4%. CenturyLink pays out 313.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. As a group, “Integrated Telecommunications Services” companies pay a dividend yield of 5.1% and pay out 841.4% of their earnings in the form of a dividend. CenturyLink is clearly a better dividend stock than its rivals, given its higher yield and lower payout ratio.

Profitability

This table compares CenturyLink and its rivals’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
CenturyLink 2.20% 8.43% 2.36%
CenturyLink Competitors 0.56% -0.28% 1.48%

Insider & Institutional Ownership

83.0% of CenturyLink shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 56.1% of shares of all “Integrated Telecommunications Services” companies are held by institutional investors. 0.6% of CenturyLink shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 4.4% of shares of all “Integrated Telecommunications Services” companies are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations for CenturyLink and its rivals, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
CenturyLink 3 6 4 0 2.08
CenturyLink Competitors 611 1674 1934 74 2.34

CenturyLink currently has a consensus price target of $25.55, suggesting a potential upside of 34.59%. As a group, “Integrated Telecommunications Services” companies have a potential upside of 31.54%. Given CenturyLink’s higher probable upside, equities research analysts plainly believe CenturyLink is more favorable than its rivals.

Summary

CenturyLink beats its rivals on 10 of the 15 factors compared.

CenturyLink Company Profile

CenturyLink, Inc. is an integrated communications company. The Company is engaged in providing an array of communications services to its residential and business customers. Its segments include business, which provides strategic, legacy and data integration products and services to small, medium and enterprise business, wholesale and governmental customers, including other communication providers, and consumer, which provides strategic and legacy products and services to residential customers. Its communications services include local and long-distance voice, broadband, Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), private line (including special access), Ethernet, colocation, hosting (including cloud hosting and managed hosting), data integration, video, network, public access, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), information technology and other ancillary services. As of December 31, 2016, it served approximately 5.9 million broadband subscribers and 325,000 Prism TV subscribers.

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