Barclays downgrades Verizon stock: Valuation ‘will cap upside’

Barclays lowered its rating on Verizon’s stock on Tuesday to overweight from equal weight, bringing its rating in line with other telecommunications companies in what Barclays sees as a shrinking industry.

“While we like [Verizon’s] near-mid term prospects, we believe valuation will cap upside potential from present levels and therefore downgrade it,” Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar said.

Shares of Verizon slipped 1.1 percent in premarket trading following the call.

Venkateshwar, who has begun covering the four telecom stocks — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, said the group is “an industry united more by differences than similarities” because “the four major operators tend to diverge meaningfully” on approaches to what are broadly the same markets. He said the companies are becoming “potentially more oligopolistic,” but the prices they offer consumers have been falling within a closer range.

Barclays also lowered its price target on Verizon to $50 per share from $56 per share. The stock closed Friday at $54.37.