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Consolidated Communications Shares Decline

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ¿ Shares of telecommunications-service provider Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc. fell Monday after a Raymond James analyst downgraded shares to "Market Perform" from "Outperform," citing a recent increase in the stock's value.

The company's shares fell 62 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $16.68.

In a client note, Raymond James analyst Frank G. Louthan IV said the company's shares have risen "significantly" in the past few weeks and are up 53 percent year-to-date ¿ much higher than the average increase of its peers' shares.

"With the stock up 53 percent year-to-date, compared to the market up 19 percent, we do not expect similar levels of outperformance going forward," he said.

Louthan said that Consolidated Communications' plans for IPTV, or Internet protocol television ¿ a technology that can deliver television content over the Internet ¿ and the possibility that it will be involved in some energy-related projects will help its sales over time. The near-term benefit from these initiatives to the company is already factored into the share price, though, he added.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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