Telefonica SA (NYSE:TEF) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report issued on Thursday, July 13th.

According to Zacks, “Over the past three months, shares of Telefonica moved down 6.28% compared with the Zacks Diversified Communication Services' industry's 0.15% fall. Moreover, the company continues to face stiff competition in the domestic and Latin-American markets. Notably, in Latin America, Telefonica competes with large global telecom operators like AT&T and America Movil. The fallout of the company’s IPO plans and downgradation by Moody's Investors Service was a major setback. The downgrade came on the back of the company’s debt laden balance sheet. However, we believe Telefonica should benefit from the launch of video services in several Latin-American markets, widespread adoption of broadband and data services, pricing revision, network enhancement and strategic collaborations, continued focus on organic growth and portfolio optimization. Telefonica is also capitalizing on the opportunities in the digital world.”

A number of other research firms have also commented on TEF. ValuEngine raised Telefonica SA from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report on Friday, July 7th. BidaskClub lowered Telefonica SA from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, June 22nd. Barclays PLC lowered Telefonica SA from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating in a research report on Friday, May 12th. BNP Paribas began coverage on Telefonica SA in a research report on Wednesday, May 31st. They issued a “neutral” rating for the company. Finally, TheStreet raised Telefonica SA from a “c” rating to a “b” rating in a research report on Thursday, May 25th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating, nine have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $10.68.

Telefonica SA (NYSE:TEF) opened at 11.48 on Thursday. The firm has a market capitalization of $58.81 billion, a PE ratio of 19.97 and a beta of 1.34. Telefonica SA has a one year low of $8.15 and a one year high of $11.64. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $10.73 and a 200 day moving average of $10.72.

Telefonica SA (NYSE:TEF) last released its earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The utilities provider reported $0.16 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.18 by $0.02. Telefonica SA had a net margin of 5.18% and a return on equity of 29.02%. The company had revenue of $14.24 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $15.01 billion. Equities analysts forecast that Telefonica SA will post $0.89 EPS for the current year.

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Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its position in Telefonica SA by 3.0% in the fourth quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 910,865 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $8,380,000 after buying an additional 26,732 shares during the period. Guggenheim Capital LLC increased its position in Telefonica SA by 6.3% in the fourth quarter. Guggenheim Capital LLC now owns 119,487 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,099,000 after buying an additional 7,118 shares during the period. Raymond James Trust N.A. purchased a new position in Telefonica SA during the first quarter worth about $114,000. Quadrant Capital Group LLC increased its position in Telefonica SA by 799.1% in the first quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC now owns 16,723 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $181,000 after buying an additional 14,863 shares during the period. Finally, SOL Capital Management CO increased its position in Telefonica SA by 4.4% in the first quarter. SOL Capital Management CO now owns 67,002 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $750,000 after buying an additional 2,817 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 0.93% of the company’s stock.

About Telefonica SA

Telefonica, SA is an integrated and diversified telecommunications group operating in Europe and Latin America. The Company’s services and products include Mobile business, Fixed-line telephony business and Digital services. Its segments include Telefonica Spain, Telefonica Brazil, Telefonica Germany, Telefonica United Kingdom and Telefonica Hispanoamerica (formed by the Company’s operators in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela and Central America, Ecuador and Uruguay).

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