The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: AT&T, Verizon Communications, CenturyLink, Comcast and Sprint

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - April 24, 2017 - announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T- Free Report ), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ- Free Report ), CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL- Free Report ), Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA- Free Report ) and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S- Free Report ).

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Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

FCC to Scrap Business Service Regulations

the U.S. telecom regulator - Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - voted 2-1 to withdraw most of the stringent regulatory requirements to reform the business data service (BDS) market. The BDS reform report was introduced by the previous FCC body that was led by Tom Wheeler under the Democratic rule. However, the new FCC, reconstructed by President Trump and headed by Ajit Pai, has ushered a less restrictive regime.

The BDS market, where telecom operators and cable MSOs (multi service operators) provide a host of network related services to business entities of various sizes, has been a lucrative source of revenues in the recent years for service providers. Significantly, these service providers have been generating handsome revenues by frequently charging steep prices from small and medium businesses. At present, BDS is a $45 billion market opportunity per annum.

In 2016, the FCC proposed rules to regulate pricing in the market, citing low competition. The proposals include: (1) removal of tariffs (2) not classifying telecom providers as either dominant or non-dominant carriers (3) implementing a new Competitive Market Test to determine where competition exists (4) imposing technology neutral regulations (5) instituting price caps on access to legacy TDM networks in non-competitive markets (6) setting wholesale prices in relation to retail prices for any given service in non-competitive markets.

Yesterday's voting outcome will substantially ease the regulatory requirements in the business data services market. However, some price caps in areas with little competition will be retained. Welcoming the voting result, Pai said that stringent regulations would be detrimental to competition and future investment need for technological upgrade.

Gainers from FCC's New Decision

The BDS reform proposals adopted by the FCC under the previous regime have been criticized by industry players and several industry organizations. They argued that being that the BDS regulations will cause more harm than good, discouraging further network investments, costing jobs and reducing economic output. Incumbent service providers like AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T- Free Report ), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ- Free Report ), CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL- Free Report ) and Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA- Free Report ) together with several other telecom operators and cable MSOs, vehemently opposed this proposal. These companies are set to gain the most from today's FCC decision.

On the other hand, the vote comes as a blow to Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S- Free Report ) and other firms that backed a 2016 FCC plan under Wheeler's chairmanship that would have cut business data prices. All the stocks mentioned above currently carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

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About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Strong Stocks that Should Be in the News

Many are little publicized and fly under the Wall Street radar. They're virtually unknown to the general public. Yet today's 220 Zacks Rank #1 "Strong Buys" were generated by the stock-picking system that has nearly tripled the market from 1988 through 2015. Its average gain has been a stellar +26% per year. See these high-potential stocks free >>.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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AT&T Inc. (T): Free Stock Analysis Report

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Comcast Corporation (CMCSA): Free Stock Analysis Report

Sprint Corporation (S): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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