S&P Analyst Downgrades Consolidated Communications

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ¿ An analyst with Standard & Poor's has downgraded the firm's ranking on telecommunications company Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc. because of a belief that the loss of phone-line customers will erode sales.

S&P analyst Todd Rosenbluth wrote in a research note Monday that the firm was downgrading Consolidated Communications Holdings' ranking to "Sell" from "Hold."

Rosenbluth wrote that he believes the Mattoon, Ill.-based company will benefit from its video and Internet offerings but that future losses of phone-line customers will hurt the company's revenue. He wrote that even though the company has enough cash to support paying a 10.8 percent dividend yield, he views the stock as overvalued.

On August 6 the company reported second-quarter earnings of $7.5 million, compared with $180,000 a year ago, as sales fell 4 percent to $102 million.

The company's total local access lines fell to 254,593 as of June 30, a decrease of 22,200, or 8 percent, at the same time the year before.

The shares rose 1 cent to $14.36 in afternoon trading. The stock has risen about 80 percent since a low of $7.90 in March.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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