Windstream Holdings Inc (NYSE:WIN) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Over the past three months, share price of Windstream declined 48.4% as against the industry's 4.1% gain. Wireless competition has resulted in a reduction in the company’s access lines. Windstream also remains under pressure with losses in the wholesale business, technological changes and its related expenses, highly leveraged balance sheet, diminishing access lines and stringent regulatory measures. However, we appreciate Windstream’s focus on improving sales and cutting costs which should rake in profits and check churn. Windstream’s cloud-to-cloud disaster recovery management solutions replicate mission-critical virtual servers and data. Launch of Kinetic TV services and merger with EarthLink Holdings also bode well. Expansion of its metro fibre network business in the newer areas and aim to extend the deployment of G.fast technologies over traditional copper telephone wires bode well.”

A number of other equities analysts have also commented on the stock. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $2.50 price target on shares of Windstream Holdings in a research report on Thursday, September 7th. Morgan Stanley reissued an “equal weight” rating and issued a $5.00 price target (down previously from $9.00) on shares of Windstream Holdings in a research report on Wednesday, June 14th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Windstream Holdings from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report on Friday, September 22nd. Citigroup Inc. dropped their price target on shares of Windstream Holdings from $5.25 to $4.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, July 13th. Finally, UBS AG reissued a “sell” rating and issued a $2.00 price target (down previously from $4.00) on shares of Windstream Holdings in a research report on Monday, August 14th. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $4.27.

Windstream Holdings (NYSE:WIN) traded down 1.42% during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $2.08. 4,496,852 shares of the company were exchanged. Windstream Holdings has a one year low of $1.73 and a one year high of $9.49. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $1.99 and its 200-day moving average is $3.84. The firm’s market cap is $396.92 million.

Windstream Holdings (NYSE:WIN) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The company reported ($0.37) EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($0.45) by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $1.49 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.50 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.01 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts expect that Windstream Holdings will post ($2.06) EPS for the current fiscal year.

Windstream Holdings announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback plan on Thursday, August 3rd that allows the company to repurchase $90.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to reacquire up to 19.9% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

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In other Windstream Holdings news, Director Alan L. Wells purchased 68,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 8th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $2.10 per share, with a total value of $142,800.00. Following the acquisition, the director now directly owns 157,971 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $331,739.10. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director Anthony W. Thomas purchased 25,381 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 17th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $1.97 per share, for a total transaction of $50,000.57. Following the acquisition, the director now directly owns 637,006 shares in the company, valued at $1,254,901.82. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders acquired a total of 95,381 shares of company stock worth $196,901 in the last three months.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. American Century Companies Inc. increased its holdings in Windstream Holdings by 15.7% in the 2nd quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 898,278 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,485,000 after buying an additional 121,934 shares during the period. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. increased its holdings in Windstream Holdings by 61.0% in the 1st quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 147,392 shares of the company’s stock valued at $803,000 after buying an additional 55,837 shares during the period. American International Group Inc. increased its holdings in Windstream Holdings by 102.9% in the 1st quarter. American International Group Inc. now owns 112,077 shares of the company’s stock valued at $611,000 after buying an additional 56,849 shares during the period. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. increased its holdings in Windstream Holdings by 71.8% in the 1st quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 2,012,867 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,971,000 after buying an additional 841,275 shares during the period. Finally, Lapides Asset Management LLC increased its holdings in Windstream Holdings by 45.5% in the 2nd quarter. Lapides Asset Management LLC now owns 26,232 shares of the company’s stock valued at $102,000 after buying an additional 8,200 shares during the period.

About Windstream Holdings

Windstream Holdings, Inc provides network communications and technology solutions in the United States. Its ILEC Consumer and Small Business segment offers consumer services, including high-speed Internet access; Internet security services; online backup services; basic local telephone services and long-distance services, as well as call waiting, caller identification, call forwarding, and other services; and video services, as well as owns and operates cable television franchises, and sells and leases equipment to support its consumer high-speed Internet and voice services.

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