Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ ) is prepping its first-quarter report for release on Thursday morning. The telecom giant locks horns with archrival AT&T (NYSE: T ) in the mobile market, where smartphones are king today, and the pair also squares off over cable-style television services.
Big Red rarely strays far from analyst targets. What do Wall Street's gurus expect this time?
The consensus estimate calls for 12% year-over-year earnings growth to $0.57 per share. Sales should jump 4.5% to $28.2 billion. Don't laugh at my word choice -- when we're talking about tens of billions of dollars in a very mature industry like telecommunications, a 4% gain is a big deal.
Verizon has been in a cooperative mood recently:
- The company kicked of a cross-selling partnership with Comcast in January, offering bundled services from the two participants in the Pacific Northwest for starters. Of course, Verizon is fighting for the right to buy some spectrum licenses off a cable consortium that includes Comcast, so the two might as well make the partnership look serious.
- Coinstar (Nasdaq: CSTR ) will launch a streaming video service later this year, and Verizon provides the network connections. Fellow Fool Rick Munarriz thinks that the Redbox-Verizon service just might pose a threat to digital-video champ Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX ) , but only if it launches quickly enough to still be relevant at birth.
The Comcast project is far too small to make a difference to this quarter, and Coinstar's service is still a big mystery. For this quarter, the big revenue driver is still found in the smartphone sector. Verizon pushes its high-speed 4G LTE network with both hands while also promoting the 4G-free Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPhones. AT&T very recently shifted gears to market a competing smartphone at the expense of iPhones, but the fallout from that won't land until next quarter.
All things considered, I expect yet another steady-as-she-goes quarter out of Big Red. Investors don't expect much growth out of this stock anyhow, settling instead for a fat 5.3% dividend yield backed by massive cash flows. If you love Verizon for its meaty dividend, you should also have a look at nine rock-solid dividend stocks that can secure your retirement. This special report is free for a limited time, so get your copy right now.