3. CenturyLink (CTL) is an integrated communications services provider engaged primarily in local and long-distance voice, wholesale local network access, high-speed Internet access, and other data and video services.
During the first quarter of 2011, the company's customer base expanded by more than 52,000 high-speed Internet connections, taking the total to 2.45 million. Meanwhile, CTL narrowed its access line losses by 15.2% compared to the first quarter of 2010. Free cash flow at the end of the quarter stood at $528 million, while capital expenditure improved 26% to $210.6 million. The company recently paid a dividend of 72.5 cents per share on its common stock.
For the second quarter of 2011, including the impact of Qwest operations commencing on April 1, total revenue is forecast in the range of $4.40 billion to $4.43 billion, while diluted earnings per share are expected between 63 cents and 67 cents. For full year 2011, the company pegs operating revenue in the range of $14.9 to $15.1 billion. Diluted earnings per share are forecast between $2.55 and $2.65. Capital expenditures are estimated to range from $2.2 billion to $2.3 billion.Of the 22 analysts covering the stock, 64% rate it a buy, whereas 32% rate it a hold. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average of 15.9%, to $45.89, over the next 12 months.
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