I don't know why y'all love Level 3 Communications (Nasdaq: LVLT ) so much.
It's a four-star CAPS stock with a 94% approval rating from more than 1,760 CAPS players, and every time I talk about the company with anything less than glowing adulation, my inbox fills up with angry diatribes.
Sure, the stock has gained 15% in the last six months, leaving like the S&P 500, Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ ) , Qwest Communications (NYSE: Q ) , and AT&T (NYSE: T ) eating Level 3's dust. But I don't get it. Over a longer time frame, like the last three or five years, only Sprint-Nextel (NYSE: S ) among Level 3's peers has destroyed value so efficiently: Level 3 is down 78% over the three-year period, while the broader market lost only 26% -- including during the terror of 2008.
And Level 3's results aren't all that inspiring. In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, the company saw sales shrink 12% year-over-year to $924 million, while last year's $0.10 loss per share increased to $0.11 per share. Level 3 is getting worse, not better.
In the coming year, management expects to hire more sales staff and invest in its networking infrastructure, which are commendable moves in dark times. Also, the company has made attempts to move into the booming content distribution network market that has brought riches to rivals like Akamai (Nasdaq: AKAM ) and Limelight Networks (Nasdaq: LLNW ) .
But I haven't seen anything worthy of the support our CAPS players and Mr. Market himself keep giving Level 3. It's an unexplainable love story of the same magnitude as Sirius XM Satellite Radio or Apple in my eyes, and really, I just don't get it.
So, Level 3 diehards, could you explain to me why you love this company so much? My email inbox is ready and waiting, though the investing community will be better served if you share your thoughts in the public comment box below, or with a CAPS commentary. Choose your weapon and fire away!