Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of United States Cellular Corporation (NYSE:USM) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Thursday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $41.00 price objective on the Wireless communications provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “U.S. Cellular’s top priority involves subscriber additions and churn management. The company has taken a number of strategic moves like introduction of a new billing system, continuous rollout of 4G LTE, enhancement of LTE handsets, completion of various spectrum transactions and monetization of non-strategic assets, to achieve its target. U.S. Cellular is optimistic about the growing demand for smartphones, which enjoy significant market penetration, supporting growth in data revenues. However, we remain concerned about the company’s operation in an intensely competitive and consolidated wireless market. Further, costs associated with network integration and construction of cell sites, aggressive pricing by larger rivals and fall in service revenues act as major dampeners. Over the past three months, the stock price declined 4.3% as against the industry's gain of 4.1%.”

Separately, BidaskClub downgraded shares of United States Cellular Corporation from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Friday, June 16th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $37.33.

United States Cellular Corporation (NYSE USM) traded down 0.27% during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $36.92. 66,307 shares of the company were exchanged. United States Cellular Corporation has a 12-month low of $33.30 and a 12-month high of $46.01. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $36.77 and its 200-day moving average is $38.04. The company has a market cap of $3.14 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 64.55 and a beta of 0.81.

United States Cellular Corporation (NYSE:USM) last issued its earnings results on Friday, August 4th. The Wireless communications provider reported $0.14 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.17 by ($0.03). United States Cellular Corporation had a net margin of 1.26% and a return on equity of 1.12%. The firm had revenue of $963.00 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $949.43 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.32 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.9% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that United States Cellular Corporation will post $0.31 EPS for the current year.

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In related news, EVP Steven T. Campbell sold 18,292 shares of United States Cellular Corporation stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $39.95, for a total value of $730,765.40. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Insiders own 1.60% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in USM. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its holdings in shares of United States Cellular Corporation by 15.0% in the second quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,073,994 shares of the Wireless communications provider’s stock valued at $41,156,000 after buying an additional 140,120 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in shares of United States Cellular Corporation by 6.4% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 1,746,129 shares of the Wireless communications provider’s stock valued at $65,183,000 after buying an additional 104,640 shares during the last quarter. Morgan Stanley raised its holdings in shares of United States Cellular Corporation by 377.6% in the first quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 128,172 shares of the Wireless communications provider’s stock valued at $4,784,000 after buying an additional 101,337 shares during the last quarter. Gamco Investors INC. ET AL raised its holdings in shares of United States Cellular Corporation by 3.2% in the second quarter. Gamco Investors INC. ET AL now owns 3,018,657 shares of the Wireless communications provider’s stock valued at $115,675,000 after buying an additional 93,187 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Gabelli Funds LLC raised its holdings in shares of United States Cellular Corporation by 6.4% in the second quarter. Gabelli Funds LLC now owns 1,304,946 shares of the Wireless communications provider’s stock valued at $50,006,000 after buying an additional 78,846 shares during the last quarter. 14.83% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

United States Cellular Corporation Company Profile

United States Cellular Corporation (U.S. Cellular) is a provider of wireless telecommunication services. The Company’s wireless operating markets are in the United States. U.S. Cellular provides service to postpaid and prepaid customers from a range of demographic segments. The Company focuses on retail consumers, government and small-to-mid-size business customers in industries, such as construction, retail, professional services and real estate.

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