Shares of Verizon Communications (VZ - Get Report) declined as much as 3% Thursday after the nation's largest wireless carrier reported a 6.7% decline in third-quarter revenue and missed Wall Street estimates.
Verizon pays a strong dividend that yields 4.6% annually, besting the 2% yield of S&P 500 (SPX) index. Verizon shares are now down almost 12% in three months, and the stock offers an attractive combination of growth potential, cheap valuation and solid dividend.
For the quarter that ended in September, the New York-based company reported adjusted earnings of $1.01 per share, which declined 4% year over year but topped analysts' estimates by 2 cents. Third-quarter revenue of $31.14 billion declined 6.7% year over year, missing consensus estimates by about $140 million.
Investors were spooked by the fact that Verizon's wireless postpaid phone subscribers unexpectedly lost 36,000 subscribers. In the year-ago quarter, it gained 430,000, which at the time crushed analysts' estimates of 239,000.
Despite the net loss of wireless phone subscribers, the company still gained 442,000 wireless postpaid subscribers during the quarter, thanks to rapid growth from its Hum-branded telematics auto service and tablet users. Postpaid users are valuable to the company because they spend more money than prepaid subscribers who buy minutes as needed.
Verizon shares closed Thursday at $49.14, losing 2.5%. The stock has been under pressure, falling almost 14% since hitting a 16-year high in July.
The company has many more catalysts to send the stock higher, including its ongoing acquisition of Yahoo! (YHOO) , which could put Verizon closer to Action Alerts PLUS holdings Facebook (FB - Get Report) and Alphabet (GOOGL - Get Report) in video and digital advertising.
What's more, the stock is cheap. Verizon trades at just 12 times fiscal 2016 estimates of $3.89 per share, compared to a price-to-earnings ratio of 17 for the S&P 500 index. Plus, Verizon's 57.75-cent quarterly dividend is appealing.
Verizon is still a must-own stock.