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ETFs to Watch Out for on Telecom Earnings

The earnings season is off to a flying start with almost 75% of the companies having surpassed expectations. The performance has been quite impressive for telecom companies, with major players beating market estimates.


Verizon


Verizon VZ reported non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.96, matching the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, Verizon’s second-quarter revenues of $30.548 billion beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $29.907 billion.


Wireless


Wireless segment revenues decreased 1.9% to $21.282 billion compared with $21.704 billion in the year-ago quarter. Net additions to the wireless segment were 633,000 compared with 585,000 in the year-ago quarter. This was primarily driven by additions in the postpaid segment, where the company witnessed new additions to the tune of 614,000. Prepaid additions in the quarter were 19,000.


Wireline


Wireline segment revenues increased 1.2% to $7.802 billion compared with $7.713 billion in the year-ago quarter. Moreover, the company’s Fios revenues grew to $2.899 billion from $2.776 billion a year earlier. The company expects to capitalize on customer growth in this segment. Net additions in Fios digital connections were 301,000.


Outlook


Verizon expects its 2017 organic revenues to be flat with 2016 levels. It expects its consolidated capital spending to be in the range of $16.8–$17.5 billion. On the tax front, Verizon expects full-year effective tax rate to be in the low end of 34–36% range.


Shares of Verizon increased around 2.8% at market close on July 27, 2017.


AT&T


AT&T T reported non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.79, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.74. Moreover, AT&T’s second-quarter revenues of $39.837 billion beat the consensus mark of $39.799 billion.


Revenue Performance


Business Solutions segment revenues decreased to $17.107 billion from $17.579 billion in the year-ago quarter.


Entertainment group revenues decreased to $12.682 billion from $12.711 billion in the year-ago quarter.


Consumer Mobility revenues decreased to $7.791 billion from $8.186 billion in the year-ago quarter.


International revenues increased to $2.026 billion from $1.828 billion in the year-ago quarter.


Wireless


AT&T reported revenues of $17.5 billion from its wireless business, reflecting a decline of about 2% from the year-ago quarter. The telecom company reported net additions of 2.8 million driven by prepaid and postpaid devices. Its churn rate came in at 0.79%.


Outlook


 AT&T stopped providing consolidated revenue guidance, attributing it to the unpredictable nature of its wireless handset sales. It maintained its full-year guidance, wherein it expects capital expenditures to be around $22 billion and free cash flow to be around $18 billion.


Shares of AT&T were up around 2.8% at market close on July 26, 2017.


In the current scenario, let’s take a look at some ETFs that have a relatively high exposure to the two companies discussed (see all Telecommunication ETFs here).


Vanguard Telecommunication Services ETF VOX:


This ETF is one of the most popular funds in the telecom.


It has AUM of $1.30 billion and charges 10 basis points as fees per year. The fund has a 22.4% exposure to AT&T and 22.1% to Verizon (as of June 30, 2017). The fund has lost 6.47% in the last one year and 5.63% year to date (as of July 27, 2017). VOX currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #4 (Sell) with a Medium risk outlook.


Fidelity MSCI Telecommunication Services ETF FCOM:


This ETF provides exposure to the U.S. telecom space at a really low expense ratio.


It has AUM of $112.1 million and charges 8 basis points as fees per year. The fund has a 22.58% exposure to AT&T and 22.24% to Verizon (as of July 26, 2017). The fund has returned 2.37% in the last one year and 2.46% year to date (as of July 27, 2017). FCOM currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #4 with a Medium risk outlook.


iShares U.S. Telecommunications ETF IYZ


This ETF provides exposure to the U.S. telecom industry.


It has AUM of $489.55 million and charges 44 basis points as fees per year. The fund has 10.18% exposure to AT&T and 9.53% to Verizon (as of July 26, 2017). The fund has lost 6.03% in the last one year and 6.12% year to date (as of July 27, 2017). IYZ currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #4 with a Medium risk outlook.


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AT&T Inc. (T): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
FID-TELECOM (FCOM): ETF Research Reports
 
VIPERS-TELE SVC (VOX): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-US TELE (IYZ): ETF Research Reports
 
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