Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of American Tower (NYSE:AMT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday morning. The firm currently has $160.00 target price on the real estate investment trust’s stock.
According to Zacks, “American Tower’s Indian, EMEA and Latin American operations account for almost 50% of its revenue growth. To this end, American Tower is expanding its prospects in India with the acquisition of tower businesses from Vodafone India and Idea Cellular. American Tower continues to benefit from increased investment of wireless carriers in 4G LTE and 5G networks. The company’s tower buyouts in emerging markets and long-term tower leases with major wireless carriers have driven its top line and lend it a competitive edge over rivals. Over the past six months, the stock price grew 4.4%, as against the industry's gain of 0.8%. However, American Tower has a substantially leveraged balance sheet. High customer concentration is likely to affect the company’s top line. Foreign currency exchange rate risks, stiff competition, integration risks and rising operating expenses are other headwinds.”
A number of other equities analysts have also recently issued reports on the company. UBS Group increased their target price on American Tower from $150.00 to $163.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Monday, September 11th. Morgan Stanley reiterated an overweight rating and set a $172.00 target price on shares of American Tower in a report on Wednesday, December 13th. Argus increased their target price on American Tower to $170.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, November 9th. Jefferies Group increased their target price on American Tower from $144.00 to $163.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. Finally, ValuEngine cut American Tower from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, December 1st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and seventeen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. American Tower currently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $158.60.
American Tower declared that its board has approved a share buyback program on Thursday, December 7th that allows the company to buyback $2.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the real estate investment trust to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are often an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 16th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, December 28th will be paid a dividend of $0.70 per share. This represents a $2.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.99%. This is an increase from American Tower’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.66. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, December 27th. American Tower’s dividend payout ratio is currently 106.46%.
In related news, Director David E. Sharbutt sold 1,584 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, December 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $144.44, for a total value of $228,792.96. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 4,861 shares in the company, valued at approximately $702,122.84. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Samme L. Thompson sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $143.16, for a total transaction of $715,800.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 109,251 shares of company stock valued at $15,765,734. Company insiders own 0.86% of the company’s stock.
A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Atlantic Trust Group LLC lifted its stake in American Tower by 89.8% in the 3rd quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC now owns 1,896,026 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $259,148,000 after purchasing an additional 897,138 shares during the last quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC lifted its stake in American Tower by 6.8% in the 3rd quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 989,655 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $135,266,000 after purchasing an additional 63,131 shares during the last quarter. AXA lifted its stake in American Tower by 3.1% in the 3rd quarter. AXA now owns 594,258 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $81,223,000 after purchasing an additional 17,897 shares during the last quarter. Shelton Capital Management lifted its stake in American Tower by 48.3% in the 3rd quarter. Shelton Capital Management now owns 4,260 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $582,000 after purchasing an additional 1,387 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC lifted its stake in American Tower by 172.4% in the 3rd quarter. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC now owns 49,800 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $6,807,000 after purchasing an additional 31,516 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 91.60% of the company’s stock.
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About American Tower
American Tower Corporation (ATC) is a holding company. The Company operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT), which owns, operates and develops multitenant communications real estate. ATC’s segments include U.S. property, Asia property, EMEA property, Latin America property, Services and Other.
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