Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) last week saw its share price dip by $1.24 (about 2.6%) to retain its position as the worst-performing stock among the 30 equities included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. For the year to date, Verizon’s shares are down 14.97%. General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) and Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) are both down by more than 10% as well, with GE down 12.75% and Chevron down 10.79% for the year to date.
According to a new report published by PC Magazine last week, Verizon’s wireless network remains the country’s top performer by a hair over second-ranked T-Mobile US Inc. (NYSE: TMUS). AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) was a close third while Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) was a distant fourth.
Recent reports of new merger discussions between Sprint and T-Mobile have not bolstered Verizon’s share price. While such a merger would reduce the number of U.S. carriers from four to three, the Sprint-T-Mobile combination would still trail Verizon in subscriber numbers.
The problem for Verizon, though, is that its subscriber numbers are declining while T-Mobile’s are shooting higher. Compared with the first quarter of 2016, Verizon added just over 1% to its postpaid subscriber total in the first quarter of this year while T-Mobile added 8% and Sprint added 2%.
Both smaller competitors have taken direct aim at Verizon with promotional offerings to encourage Verizon customers to switch. Verizon lost 307,000 postpaid customers in the first quarter.
Another weight on Verizon is the unlimited data plan the company was essentially forced to offer after both Sprint and T-Mobile introduced similar plans. The unlimited data plan threatens both average revenue per user and Verizon’s network performance.
Verizon stock closed at $45.39 per share on Friday, down less than 0.1% for the day. The stock’s 52-week range is $44.46 to $56.95, and the 12-month consensus price target is $49.79, according to MarketWatch. The company’s dividend yield ended the week up slightly at 5.09%.