Financial ratings wrap-up: MetroPCS, Apple, SBA and more

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The following list includes ratings changes and financial information for wireless companies announced this week by investment-banking and financial-services firms.
Carrier
–Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services upgraded MetroPCS to B from B- with a stable outlook. “The upgrade reflects the company’s improving financial leverage,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Catherine Cosentino. RBC Capital Markets started coverage on MetroPCS with a sector perform rating and a $17 price target.
–RBC Capital Markets initiated coverage on Clearwire with an outperform rating and a $17 price target.
– –RBC Capital Markets initiated coverage on Ntelos with an outperform rating and a $33 price target.
–RBC Capital Markets lowered its price target on Leap Wireless to $45 on more conservative valuation parameters in line with what the firm uses for peer-company PCS.
–RBC Capital Markets tweaked its estimates on AT&T, lowering its 2008 EPS estimate to $3.01 from $3.03.
Handset and infrastructure vendors
–RBC Capital Markets lowered its price target on Apple to $200 from $220 on soft fourth-quarter guidance. Deutsche Bank lowered its price target on Apple to $200 from $235 and dropped its price target and estimates on the company.
–Credit Suisse First Boston lowered its estimates and price target on Nortel Networks based on a continuing restrained capex environment and competitive landscape. New price target is $7 from $8, and new estimates are 43 cents on $11.07 billion in revenues from 47 cents on $11.13 billion for 2008 and to 68 cents on $11.20 billion from 69 cents on $11.28 billion for 2009.
Other
–RBC Capital Markets raised its estimates on SBA Communications to reflect its acquisition of Optasite. The firm raised its EBITDA estimates on the company to $268 million from $264.1 million for 2008 and to $315.7 million from $296.1 million for 2009. Credit Suisse First Boston raised its 2008 EPS estimate on the company to a loss of 37 cents from a loss of 42 cents and its 2009 EPS estimate to a return of 5 cents from a loss of 1 cent. It also raised its price target on SBA to $34 from $33.
–R.W. Baird lowered its estimates on Texas Instruments on the likelihood of a sharp slowdown for the third quarter. New estimates are $1.89 rather than $2.05 for 2008 and $1.86 rather than $2.05 for 2009. Credit Suisse First Boston adjusted its estimates on the company to $1.75 on revenues of $13.34 billion from $1.84 on $13.50 billion for 2008 and to $1.80 on $13.33 billion from $1.82 on $13.30 billion for 2009. Deutsche Bank lowered its price target on TI to $32 from $35.
–RBC Capital Markets lowered its price target on RadioShack to $17 from $18.
–Broadpoint Capital initiated coverage on Broadcom Corp. with a neutral rating.
–Oppenheimer & Co. lowered its price target on Brightpoint to $10 from $12 after the company pre-announced weak second-quarter results. The firm also lowered its estimates on Brightpoint to 60 cents from 68 cents for 2008 and to 78 cents from 82 cents for 2009.
–Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services downgraded Crown Castle to B+ from BB- with a stable outlook. “The downgrade reflects the company’s ongoing high leverage, which totaled 9.3x for the 12 months ended March 31, 2008, including preferred stock, and our expectations that leverage is not likely to materially improve over the next few years,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Catherine Cosentino.
–Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services placed its ratings on Convergys on CreditWatch with negative implications, including its BBB corporate credit rating and A-2 commercial paper rating. The action follows the company’s announcement that it signed a definitive agreement to acquire Intervoice for $335 million in cash.

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