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Investors: Forget Telecoms, Tower Stocks Might Be Where It's At

Investors: Forget Telecoms, Tower Stocks Might Be Where It's At
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In a report published Thursday, Morgan Stanley analyst Simon Flannery upgraded the rating on American Tower Corp (NYSE: AMT) to Overweight, while raising the price target from $101 to $116, on expectations of a pickup in leasing activity in 2016.

Analyst Simon Flannery pointed out that 2015 had been a slow year for Towers and that investors were cautious on Tower stocks ahead of a potential rate hike in September or December.

Flannery added, however, that the operational impact appeared "limited," and that REITs seemed to have outperformed "in three of the past six periods of materially rising rates." The valuation of Towers is attractive versus that of the REITs, despite superior growth and a favorable business model, Flannery mentioned.

The setup for Towers was expected to be attractive in 2016 due to reaccelerated spending by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and network diversification by Sprint Corp (NYSE: S), increased activity at Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and T-Mobile US Inc (NYSE: TMUS) and fewer headwinds from iDEN decommissioning, the Morgan Stanley report noted.

Although the macro environment continued to be challenging in Brazil, the trends were stabilizing in certain key markets, such as India and Mexico, Flannery said, while adding that the domestic markets had "reached a trough" with comps easing from the equipment decommissioning agreement going forward.

Latest Ratings for AMT

Dec 2017Morgan StanleyMaintainsOverweight
Nov 2017Morgan StanleyMaintainsOverweight
Nov 2017JefferiesMaintainsBuy

View More Analyst Ratings for AMT
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

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