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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Verizon Communications, AT&T, Sprint, China Mobile and Toll Brothers

CHICAGO, Feb. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com 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 the Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ-Free Report), AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T-Free Report), Sprint Corp. (NYSE:S-Free Report), China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL-Free Report) and Toll Brothers, Inc. (NYSE:TOL-Free Report).

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Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Global Boom for LTE Network

Long-Term Evolution (LTE), the most sought after next-generation (4G) super-fast wireless communications technology, is rapidly gaining momentum globally. The 4G wireless network aims to cope with substantial demand for high-speed wireless data services and mobile video.

The Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) recently reported that currently 268 LTE networks are commercially available in 100 countries. The GSA estimated that more than 350 LTE networks will be commercially functional by the end of 2014.

In Nov 2013, The GSM Association's research wing, GMSA Intelligence, forecasted that there will be more than 1 billion LTE connections globally by 2017. Also, around 465 live LTE networks are projected to be present across 128 countries by 2017.

GSMA Intelligence further reported that LTE users consume an average of 1.5GB data per month, two-fold the amount consumed by non-LTE users. In developing countries, LTE users are likely to generate 20 times higher average revenue per user (ARPU) for carriers than non-LTE users, whereas in developed countries ARPU can be 10%-40% higher for LTE users than non-LTE users. 

LTE offers several advantages over legacy 3G network technologies. This includes improved spectral efficiency, lower costs, and solid integration with other open wireless standards. Theoretically, LTE is expected to achieve download transmission speeds up to 300Mbps and upload transmission speeds up to 100 Mbps.

LTE also supports flexible carrier bandwidth and both FDD (frequency division duplexing) and TDD (time division duplexing) on the same platform. Ability to phenomenally enhance speed and capacity are the positives which spur LTE adoption by wireless carriers.

In the U.S., top two wireless operators, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ-Free Report) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T-Free Report), are gradually expanding their respective LTE networks. Sprint Corp. (NYSE:S-Free Report), the nation's third largest telecom firm, has undertaken a massive LTE network deployment project. In China – a major emerging market – leading wireless operator China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL-Free Report) has decided to initiate a significant LTE-TDD network deployment plan in 2014.

Toll Brothers Buys Biz in Upscale California

Leading U.S. homebuilder, Toll Brothers, Inc. (NYSE:TOL-Free Report) recently closed the purchase of the homebuilding business of California-based Shapell Industries, Inc. for $1.6 billion. The acquisition will largely boost Toll Brothers' presence in the upscale coastal Californian housing market.

Shapell is considered to be one of the largest privately held homebuilding companies in California. Since its launch in 1955, Shapell has built 70,000 homes, a major portion of which are located in wealthy Northern and Southern Californian markets.

Following the acquisition, Toll Brothers will gain control over Shapell's entire land portfolio in California. It will provide the company an additional 5,200 lots and homes for future sales. Nearly 97.5% of these homes are located in the San Francisco Bay area, metro Los Angeles, Orange County and Carlsbad, all of which hold strong growth potential.

Toll Brothers purchased the homebuilding business through debt and equity financing. The company will sell $500 million worth of land to focus on the Californian market. The takeover is viewed as a significant effort by the company to extend its business in the state, which is both affluent and possesses a strong employment base.

Though demand in the homebuilding market is gaining traction, the supply side is still weak. Given its strong liquidity, Toll Brothers has secured some of the most sought after urban locations in the country, where land is scarce and approvals are not easy to obtain.

The company's solid land position places it well to meet growing demand, thus giving it a competitive edge over peers who are facing land availability constraints. The company expects to deliver 5,100 to 6,100 homes in fiscal 2014, with average prices ranging between $670,000 and $720,000.

Toll Brothers currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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.

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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 http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.


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