An issue of CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL) bonds fell 1.3% against their face value during trading on Wednesday after Morgan Stanley lowered their price target on the stock from $27.00 to $26.00. The high-yield debt issue has a 7.5% coupon and will mature on April 1, 2024. The debt is now trading at $103.25 and was trading at $106.25 last week. Price changes in a company’s bonds in credit markets often predict parallel changes in its stock price.

Several other equities analysts have also commented on the stock. ValuEngine upgraded shares of CenturyLink from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, August 18th. Cowen and Company reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of CenturyLink in a research report on Monday, August 14th. BidaskClub lowered shares of CenturyLink from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, August 11th. Barclays PLC lowered their price objective on shares of CenturyLink from $24.00 to $23.00 and set an “underweight” rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, June 29th. Finally, UBS AG set a $29.00 price objective on shares of CenturyLink and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, June 22nd. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating, six have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $26.15.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Endurance Wealth Management Inc. increased its position in CenturyLink by 18.5% in the second quarter. Endurance Wealth Management Inc. now owns 4,650 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $111,000 after buying an additional 725 shares in the last quarter. FNY Managed Accounts LLC bought a new position in CenturyLink during the first quarter valued at approximately $120,000. Exane Derivatives increased its position in CenturyLink by 29.7% in the first quarter. Exane Derivatives now owns 5,209 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $123,000 after buying an additional 1,194 shares in the last quarter. First City Capital Management Inc. bought a new position in CenturyLink during the first quarter valued at approximately $215,000. Finally, Tower Research Capital LLC TRC bought a new position in CenturyLink during the second quarter valued at approximately $197,000. 77.77% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

The company has a market cap of $11.20 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.54 and a beta of 0.87. The company has a 50-day moving average of $22.34 and a 200-day moving average of $24.02. CenturyLink also was the target of some unusual options trading on Tuesday. Stock traders purchased 13,185 call options on the company. This represents an increase of approximately 126% compared to the average daily volume of 5,842 call options.

CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 2nd. The technology company reported $0.46 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.49 by $0.03. CenturyLink had a net margin of 2.20% and a return on equity of 8.43%. The company had revenue of $4.09 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.09 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.63 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 7.0% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts forecast that CenturyLink, Inc. will post $1.95 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, September 5th will be given a dividend of $0.54 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, August 31st. This represents a $2.16 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 10.60%. CenturyLink’s dividend payout ratio is currently 313.04%.

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About CenturyLink

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.

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