Wireless continued to be a strong performing sector in the first quarter. While competition continues to squeeze margins, the need for speed and data is becoming the most important part of the earnings equation. Consumers also are starting to look at a replacement for their current smartphones. What they end up buying may be influenced by wireless and data plans as much as by the phones themselves.
Oppenheimer analysts just released an in-depth look at the first-quarter earnings for the communication, wireless and cloud stocks. Results were solid for the high-end wireless sector and okay for consumer wireline. Twelve of the companies Oppenheimer covers met or exceeded estimates, and five reported an earnings miss, with the more enterprise-focused companies guiding to weaker results. The analysts continue to believe that wireless data and cloud services are in the early stages of growth and that this, combined with online gaming, mobile video and social networking, will drive strong interest for many of the stocks in their coverage universe.
Here are the Oppenheimer stocks to buy, including a top three list.
Akamai Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM) is one of three top stocks to buy. Akamai has followed a steady pattern of reporting two consecutive strong quarters followed by one weaker quarter. Assuming this trend continues, the second quarter this year will be another strong quarter for the company. The Thomson/First Call price target for the stock is $47.
American Tower Corp. (NYSE: AMT) is also in the top three. The Oppenheimer analysts think that American Tower is the favorite to acquire AT&T Inc.’s (NYSE: T) remaining tower portfolio, which would increase the company’s tower count by 50%. The consensus price objective for this top name is $91.50.
Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) rounds out the top three stocks to buy at Oppenheimer. Cable trends look solid for the remainder of the year, as the company was able to pass through a series of rate adjustments with only minor pushback. New acquisition NBCUniversal, had a much better first quarter than expected. The consensus target for the stock is $48. Investors are paid a 1.80% dividend.
Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE: CCI) is another tower name to make the Oppenheimer stocks to buy list. Over the past four quarters, year-over-year sales growth has been 17%, 21%, 30% and 34%, respectively. As the weather warms up, it is likely the company will have additional equipment installations and repair work as network capital spending heats up. The consensus price objective for the stock is $86.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is one of two carriers to buy. The company expects much better results in its wireless business in the second quarter after a weak start to the year. The consensus for this blue chip name is $38. Investors are paid an outstanding 4.90% dividend.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) also grabs a spot on the stocks to buy list. Verizon Wireless will pay out a total $7 billion distribution in June to Verizon and Vodafone Group PLC (NASDAQ: VOD) commensurate with their respective 55% and 45% stakes in the company. That puts Verizon’s share at $3.85 billion, and Vodafone will get $3.15 billion. The consensus price target for Verizon Communications is $54. Shareholders receive a 3.90% dividend.
RigNet Inc. (NASDAQ: RNET) is a small cap name that offers an interesting twist. The company provides network infrastructure services for the remote communications needs of the oil and gas industry. The consensus price objective for the stock is $27.50.
Interxion Holdings N.V. (NYSE: INXN) could be a play on growth in Europe. The company provides carrier-neutral colocation data center services in Europe. The consensus for the stock is at $21.41, way below the current trading level.
magicJack Vocal Tec Ltd. (NASDAQ: CALL) wraps up the list of stocks to buy at Oppenheimer. With television commercials that run constantly, the company provides consumers inexpensive voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) phone service. The consensus estimate for the stock is at $26. A move to the target would represent an almost 40% gain.
Even with the impressive stock market rally, investors can feel comfortable at least scale buying some of these top names. With an ever increasing consumer base around the world, growth prospects for these stocks seem very achievable.