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Things Look Less Dim for Verizon Communications

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On Monday, the communications giant and parent company of Yahoo Finance revealed it has inked a new deal. Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ)  has acquired the pre-paid wireless leader Tracfone for $3.125 billion in cash and $3.125 billion in Verizon common stock. The agreement also includes up to an additional $650 million in future cash consideration related to the achievement of certain goals. Most importantly, this move is positioning Verizon to take advantage of the wireless market as it has now gained access Trafcone’s 21 million subscribers. Trafcone’s network expands over 90,000 retail locations all over the globe.

The pandemic brought not-so-good news to Verizon

Shares of the largest U.S. cell phone carrier did gain 2.48% in the past month. This is a stock that generates stable earnings growth and pays high dividends. But, its core business was severely hit by the pandemic. Moreover, COVID-19 only further amplified slower sales of smartphones and intense competition from rival carriers that the company was always struggling with last year.

Alleviating concerns

There is some concern about Verizon’s dividend yield which has been trapped at just over 4% for quite some time now and is lower than its nearest rival AT&T (NYSE: T) dividend yield of about 7%. But despite market challenges, there is plenty of free cash flow to cushion the blow. Unlike top rival AT&T, Verizon isn’t trying to digest a massive media business or build an EPS to stay roughly flat.

More than earnings growth

Verizon Communications has grown both its profit and its revenue over the last few years. But there is more to it than earnings growth. Last week, its board raised the quarterly dividend from 62.75 cents from 61.5 cents, which is 2% increase and more importantly, the 14th consecutive year of dividend increases. Moreover, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Verizon are set to resume discussions to invest more than $4 billion for a stake in India’s Vodafone Idea Ltd. With 5G, Verizon’s expansion into connected cars, Internet of Things devices, and ongoing fiber upgrades could easily be the source of fresh growth next year when the world hopefully leaves the pandemic behind.

The 5G Opportunity

The ultra-fast connectivity and massive capacity of 5G are believed to have an important role in our future. It is expected to contribute to manufacturing automation, cloud gaming, autonomous vehicles, drones, and remote health care services, among many others. Verizon has been investing heavily to support traffic growth across its networks while it continues to deploy more fiber and additional cell sites to expand its 5G rollout nationwide. The company has already launched 5G mobility service as well as %G home internet in some of the targeted 60 markets. It was the No. 1 winner in the government’s latest auction for spectrum useful for 5G services, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as announced on September 2. Verizon was the most successful bidder as it devoted $1.9 billion to captivate the 5G spectrum.  The company has ambitions to become a top mobile services provider in this space. This is ideal for devices using high-bandwidth services like streaming video. Such uses have seen a rise in demand dictated by the stay-in-place measures arising from the coronavirus pandemic. Winning a swath of spectrum will also bring Verizon closer to rival T-Mobile US (NASDAQ: TMUS), which dramatically increased its licensed holdings with the absorption of Sprint and its assets.

A less dim 2021?

Adam Koeppe, the senior vice president for technology strategy, architecture and planning recently stated that Verizon’s move to virtualized infrastructure is ongoing. This specific transaction is aligned with what Verizon does best, provide reliable wireless services while offering a top quality customer experience Hans Vestberg, Chairman and CEO of Verizon, emphasized that the company is pursuing this important strategic acquisition from a position of strength which is reflected in its strong and prudent financial profile. So, if there’s any consolation for this unprecedented year, it seems that 2021 will indeed be less dim.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

This Week’s IPOs

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This week has eight scheduled IPOs with three billion-dollar deals coming from bio tech, diagnostics, software and solar equipment, among others.

Biotech

The US biotechnology company that received emergency approval from the FDA for its COVID-19 antibody and antigen tests, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics (NASDAQ: OCDX), plans to raise $1.5 billion at a $4.9 billion market cap. This pure-play in vitro diagnostics business provides diagnostic testing solutions. It is profitable on an EBIT basis, with a revenue retention rate of 99% in 2019.

Customer-survey software

Qualtrics International (NASDAQ: XM) seeks to raise as much as $1.46 billion. It provides a customer and employee experience management platform to over 12,000 organizations. But, despite its sticky customers, it operates in a highly competitive environment with low barriers to entry.

Solar equipment supplier

Shoals Technologies Group (NASDAQ: SHLS) designs and manufactures products used in large solar energy projects. It is a profitable and growing company that plans to raise $1.0 billion at a $3.6 billion market cap. However, its growth depends on international growth and its track record abroad is not impressive.

Asset-light container liner shipping company

Israel-based ZIM Integrated Shipping Services (NYSE: ZIM) plans to raise $306 million at a $2.1 billion market cap. This company positions itself as a global leader in niche markets with competitive advantages that allow it to maximize its profitability.

Mortgage

Residential mortgage producer Home Point Capital (NASDAQ: HMPT) plans to raise $250 million at a $3.0 billion market cap. It utilizes a wholesale mortgage origination channel to connect with nearly broker partners, which allows it to serve roughly 300,000 customers.

Asset management

Brazilian asset manager Vinci Partners Investments (NASDAQ: VINP) plans to raise $236 million at a $944 million market cap. Its portfolio includes private equity, public equities, real estate, credit, infrastructure, hedge funds, and investment products.

Supermarket portfolio

Southeastern Grocers (NYSE: SEGR) plans to raise $134 million (100% secondary) at a $725 million market cap. The company itself won’t sell any shares as part of the offering and will not receive any net proceeds from its public debut.

Agriculture

Agricultural technology company Agrify (NASDAQ: AGFY) plans to raise $25 million at a $115 million market cap. This company is highly unprofitable but fast growing. It aims to differentiate itself with a bundled solution of equipment, software, and services that is optimized for growth.

By the looks of it, the 2021 IPO market seems to be continuing 2020’s momentum.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

This Earnings Week Will Be a Busy One

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Apply (NASDAQ: AAPL), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) are ready to report record sales this week, along with nearly a quarter of S&P 500 companies scheduled to release their earnings reports. It will also be a busy week, or more precisely a busy Tuesday, for the Dow with 3M (NYSE: MMM), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), American Express (NYSE: AXP) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) joining Microsoft as fourth-quarter earnings season gets into full swing.

Tuesday

The chip saga continues with Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD) whose shares rose about 5% over the past week and are now up 1.2% year to date. Expectations are high due to its strong fourth quarter results and Intel Corporation’s (NASDAQ: INTC) upside guidance that was issued last week. Wall Street expects earnings of47 cents per share on revenue of $3.02 billion as it assumes the pandemic made a minimal disruption to its business with positive trends in the datacenter business and PC sales. AMD has steadily gained market share from Intel in both of these categories.

Microsoft will also report after the close with Wall Street expecting earnings of $1.64 per share on revenue of $40.18 billion. The trends of working and learning from home continue to intensify demands for Microsoft’s offerings, as evidenced by the strong Q4 demand. But its biggest strength over the past year has been the commercial cloud business and Wall Street remains strongly positive about the company’s outlook for fiscal 2021 due to Azure’s momentum as it’s revenue was up 48% on a YoY basis in the previous quarter. But, this is a slight deceleration from the 50% growth in Q4 and investors will want some evidence that both Azure and Microsoft’s Teams that competes against Zoom (NASDAQ: ZM) can continue fueling its revenues to new heights.

Wednesday

Apple will report after the close and Wall Street expects earnings of$1.40 per share on revenue of $102.76 billion. Holiday quarter is the quarter for Apple and it needs to meet these high expectations as last year’s quarter saw earnings of $1.25 per share on revenue of $88.5 billion. This quarter will be all about sales of the iPhone 12 that has been lauded as revolutionary. The iPhone 12 came with 5G capabilities and features such as its world-facing LIDAR sensor. However, Apple is about more than the iPhone as its services business now accounts for almost 22% of total revenue. Last quarter, its revenue surged to a new record of $14.5 billion.

Facebook will also report after the close with Wall Street expecting earnings of $3.19 per share on revenue of $26.34 billion. Facebook shares had an impressive run over the past week, suggesting that the concerns over digital advertising due to the pandemic have vanished. The social media giant topped consensus earnings expectations in each of the past eleven quarters and has missed earnings estimates just once over the past half of a decade. Yet, over the past year, its shares have been under-performing due to fears of regulatory and political risk. But if it shows a strong surge in daily and monthly active users with an upbeat revenue guidance, its stock should be just fine.

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) will report its first quarter since it became part of the S&P 500 after the close. Wall Street expects earnings of$1.00 per share on revenue of $10.32 billion. Tesla’s shares are up 20% year to date and 99.9% since the company last reported earnings on October 21st, confirming that it is not showing any signs of slowing down. Elon Musk’s focus has been on executing the strategy that brought top and bottom-line improvements, while delivering almost half a million vehicles in 2020. Now, the electric vehicle pioneer has to show it intends to keep pressing the gas pedal.

Takeaway

A number of Republicans don’t support President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion new round of fiscal stimulus and have even criticized the price tag. Fortunately, mega tech companies that are reporting this week don’t depend on fiscal stimulus that much, as dar revenue and earnings growth is concerned.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

This Week Will Be About More Than Inauguration Day Alone

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Since 2020 March lows, the market saw a nothing short of extraordinary record-shattering rally. But how much higher can it go as COVID continues to rage across the US and Europe? That answer will become a bit clearer as traders have returned from the long holiday weekend and equity markets have reopened. This week will be defined by the first days of the Biden administration and by another batch of corporate earnings reports.

Inauguration in times of COVID-19

On Wednesday, president-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony will take place as a dialed-down event, due to the ongoing pandemic. Americans have been urged to avoid the city on the day, given the risk of violence surrounding the event. Last Wednesday, Airbnb (NASDAQ: ABNB) announced it would block and cancel reservations in the D.C. metro area this week, refunding guests and reimbursing hosts who already made bookings. Interestingly, the stock rallied nearly 6% upon the announcement. Marriott (NASDAQ: MAR) which has close to 200 hotels in the D.C. area and owns brands including The Ritz-Carlton said it would honor existing reservations, along with IntercontinentalHotelGroup (NYSE: IHG), Hilton (NYSE: HLT), Hyatt (NYSE: H) and Expedia-owned VRBO (NASDAQ: EXPE).

Biden also said he aims to roll out 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days in office, which would significantly accelerate the pace of current efforts to counteract the pandemic. On January 20th, Biden is seeking to sign about a dozen executive actions to address the pandemic, as well as a virus-stricken economy, climate change and racial equity.

Earnings

One of this week’s key earnings reports will come from Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) on Tuesday after market close. Last quarter’s results showed disappointing signs that the skyrocketing user growth that Netflix enjoyed during pandemic was slowing down. The streaming giant missed even its own conservative third-quarter new subscriber guidance for the summer, adding just 2.2 million new members as opposed the 2.5 million the company had expected. For the fourth quarter, Netflix expects 6 million net paid additions to its streaming platform, representing another YoY decline after adding 8.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Netflix, while still the leader among U.S. streaming platforms when it comes to total users, has also faced increasing competition over the past year, especially from relative newcomer Disney+ (NYSE: DIS). Disney’s streaming service had 86.8 million paying subscribers as of December 2nd, compared to the more than 195 million Netflix reported at the end of September. Disney also revealed it would be raising the monthly price of its streaming subscription starting in March, suggesting the entertainment giant believes it has the user demand and pricing power to command higher fees. Netflix needs to prove it can maintain its status as the king of streaming among this intense competition.

Wall Street expects earnings $1.38 per share on revenue of $6.61 billion, compared to the year-ago quarter when earnings were $1.30 per share on $5.47 billion in revenue.

Also, on Tuesday, Tuesday: Halliburton (NYSE: HAL), Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCHW), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) will report their earnings before market open.

Wednesday

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), US Bancorp (NYSE: USB), Citizens Financial Group (NYSE: CFG), Bank of New York Mellon Co. (NYSE: BK), Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG), UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) will report before market open whereas Alcoa (NYSE: AA) and United Airlines (NASDAQ: UAL) will report after market close. Wall Street expects United Airlines to lose $6.58 per share on revenue of $3.46 billion. This compares to the year-ago quarter when earnings came to $2.67 per share on revenue of $10.89 billion. United had some $24 billion of capital expenditure commitments as of Q3 so amid the decline in travel demand, its aim is to reduce that spending as much as possible. Investors will be looking at such economic improvements to justify the argument that UAL is better positioned than other airlines to survive this downturn.

Thursday will feature IBM and Intel

Wall Street expects International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE: IBM) to earn $1.79 per share on revenue of $20.63 billion but what investors are really wondering is when will the real turnaround begin? Its cloud ambitions have promised to return value to shareholders, but shares still haven’t regained even their pre-COVID levels while the rest of the market has seen record highs. Cloud leaders such as Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG)(NASDAQ: GOOGL) are seemingly too far ahead for IBM to catch up. The new CEO Arvind Krishna is tasked with elevating Big Blue into a leading cloud and AI position, while distancing the company from the legacy business. Investors want to hear progress on these fronts.

Truist Financial (NYSE: TFC), Baker Hughes (NYSE: BKR), Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP) will also report on the same day before market open and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) will make its appearance after market close.  Wall Street expects Intel to earn $1.10 per share on revenue of $17.48 billion, whereas the same quarter last year saw earnings of $1.52 per share on revenue of $20.21 billion. Intel shares have soared more than 10% Wednesday after the company confirmed that CEO Bob Swan will step down on February 15 and be replaced by Pat Gelsinger, the current CEO of VMWare (NYSE: VMW). On several important chip development fronts, Intel has lost ground to rivals AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) and Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA). On Thursday, it must show the right things to support the confidence that Gelsinger can turn things around and quickly.

The week will be closed on Friday with earnings from Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU), Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) and Ally Invest (NYSE: ALLY) who will all report before the stock market opens.

The inauguration may signal a dramatic shift and increase in government spending, but it remains to be seen whether hopes of a transformation can survive the reality of a narrowly divided Congress.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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