1 Underrated Reason Why Verizon Stock Looks Great Now

Mobile data use is on the rise, and that's good news for Verizon stock. The carrier's shares are slightly ahead of the S&P 500 so far this year.

There's good reason to be believe we'll see further gains in the months and years ahead. Verizon activated 25% more iPhones in the first quarter and 7.2 million smart handsets overall thanks, in part, to surprisingly strong Windows Phone sales. Meanwhile, wireless industry analyst Chetan Sharma says U.S. revenue from mobile data grew 14% to $21 billion in the first quarter. All signs point to greater demand for Verizon's gear and services.

But investing is also a game best played in context. How does Verizon stock compare to peers AT&T  and Sprint Nextel ? Here's what the numbers say:

Key Statistics
Verizon
AT&T
Sprint Nextel

Current share price

$48.89

$34.71

$7.01

Shares outstanding

2.86 billion

5.38 billion

3.02 billion

Market cap

$143.2 billion

$189.6 billion

$21.1 billion

Trailing P/E ratio

123.2

26.88

Not available

PEG ratio

1.71

2.25

(1.61)

Gross margin

60.8%

56.7%

41.6%

Cash from operations

$33.06 billion

$39.53 billion

$2.96 billion


Sources: S&P Capital IQ and Yahoo! Finance.

And here's what Fools say, going by the data available in our CAPS investor intelligence database:

CAPS Category
Verizon
AT&T
Sprint Nextel

CAPS stars (out of 5)

****

***

**

No. of CAPS ratings

4,926

5,878

2,496

Bullish CAPS ratings

4,627

5,421

2,023

Bearish CAPS ratings

299

457

473

Bull ratio

93.9%

92.2%

81%

Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

Fools rate Verizon tops among carriers for a variety of reasons, including optionality in the business. "The top cell phone network provider and their purchase of Hughes Telematics was a wise move given the personal auto insurance potential use of telematics universally," writes CAPS investor bccleveland.

Verdict: Verizon stock is a buy
Skeptics will note that telecom hasn't exactly been a great business of late. T-Mobile has all but eliminated long-term contracts, which also threatens subsidies. Consumers who want the latest gear may soon have to pay up for it in ways they haven't previously. Handset sales could dip as a result.

Or not. Telecom is a tough business with a tumultuous history. I'd rather bet on Verizon's ability to navigate treacherous waters while collecting (and reinvesting) a quarterly dividend that yields 4% as of this writing. As such, I've taken a long position in my CAPS portfolio.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. What you do with Verizon stock right now? Let us know what you think of Big Red's business, and whether you'd buy, sell, or short at current prices, using the comments box below.

Don't wait -- get paid
If you're an investor who prefers returns to rhetoric, you'll want to read The Motley Fool's new free report: "5 Dividend Myths... Busted!" In it, you'll learn which stocks provide premium growth and whether bigger dividends are better. Click here to keep reading.

The article 1 Underrated Reason Why Verizon Stock Looks Great Now originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the  Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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