With third-quarter earnings reports right around the corner, and Wall Street starting to focus on the final three months of 2018, one thing is for sure. The markets have hit all-time highs, and despite a plethora of reasons to be concerned, volatility is once again extremely low. As we are in a late cycle market, it makes sense to look for value and for some safety, and the analysts at Oppenheimer might be on to the sector that has both.
A new Oppenheimer report on the cloud and communications telecom sector suggests that the end of the year is when many start shopping for stocks with better value metrics and a degree of safety. The report noted:
On an adjusted basis relative to S&P performance, large-cap Telecom is most attractive in the second half of the year. A large part of the seasonal performance is due to investors seeking flight to safety at year-end, which also explains first-quarter under performance. We see this trend continuing in 2018, particularly due to significant macro risk exacerbating usual the flight to safety.
These four stocks are rated Buy at Oppenheimer and look like solid picks for growth portfolios.
This stock may be a great total return play and is the top large-cap pick at Oppenheimer. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is the world’s largest provider of pay TV, with TV customers in the United States and 11 Latin American countries. In the United States, the AT&T wireless network has the nation’s self-described strongest 4G LTE signal and most reliable 4G LTE.
The company also helps businesses worldwide serve their customers better with mobility and highly secure cloud solutions. Trading at a very cheap 8.9 times estimated 2019 earnings, the company continues to expand its user base, and strong product introductions from smartphone vendors have not only driven traffic but increased device financing plans.
The telecom giant reported mixed second-quarter results. However taking into account new assets from the Time Warner acquisition, AT&T raised its full-year earnings guidance to the high end of the $3.50 range, versus the $3.40 analysts had estimated.
AT&T shareholders receive a 5.98% dividend. Oppenheimer has a $41 price target, and the Wall Street consensus target is $35.12. The shares traded early Friday at $34.15.
This smaller cap company that could be a top 5G play in 2018 and beyond. Boingo Wireless Inc. (NASDAQ: WIFI) is a provider of commercial mobile wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) internet solutions and indoor direct-attached storage (DAS) services. It operates as a service provider of wireless connectivity solutions across its managed and operated network and aggregated network for mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones, tablets and other wireless-enabled consumer devices.
Boingo Wireless acquires long-term wireless rights at venues, such as airports, transportation hubs, stadiums, arenas, universities, convention centers and office campuses; builds wireless networks, such as DAS, Wi-Fi and small cells at those venues; and monetizes the wireless networks through a range of products and services. As of December 31, 2016, it operated 36 DAS networks containing approximately 19,200 DAS nodes. Its Wi-Fi network includes locations that the company manages and operates, as well as networks managed and operated by third-parties with whom it contracts for access.
The $39 Oppenheimer price target is higher than the $30.75 consensus estimate. The shares were trading at $33.20.
This carrier is still in the middle of merger activity with peer Sprint, and it is another top large-cap pick at Oppenheimer. T-Mobile US Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) provides mobile communications services in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The company offers voice, messaging and data services in the postpaid, prepaid and wholesale markets. It also provides wireless devices, including smartphones, tablets and other mobile communication devices, as well as accessories that are manufactured by various suppliers.
T-Mobile offers services, devices and accessories under the T-Mobile and MetroPCS brands through its owned and operated retail stores, as well as through its websites. The company also sells its devices and accessories to dealers and other third-party distributors for resale through independent third-party retail outlets and various third-party websites. It serves approximately 63 million customers.
The Oppenheimer price target is $90. The consensus target is $77.17, and shares traded at $69.55.
This has been a rumored takeover candidate and is another 5G winner. Zayo Group Holdings Inc. (NYSE: ZAYO) provides comprehensive bandwidth infrastructure services in over 300 markets throughout the United States and Europe. Zayo delivers a suite of dark fiber, mobile infrastructure and cloud and connectivity services to wireline and wireless customers, data centers, internet content providers, high-bandwidth enterprises and government agencies across its robust 82,000 route mile network.
The company also offers 45 carrier-neutral data center facilities across the United States and France. Zayo was the first to offer bandwidth shopping and buying in less than two minutes through Tranzact.
Oppenheimer has set its price target at $42. The consensus target is $42.53, and shares traded at $35.15.
Oppenheimer sees these four top companies as top telecom plays, and two could be direct beneficiaries of the move to 5G. With better valuations, and a very pricey stock market, they make good sense now.