DirecTV Stock Hits All-Time High
NEW YORK -- Shares of DirecTV hit an all-time high Thursday, a week after the satellite TV giant reported better-than-expected first-quarter results.
The stock, which had in recent days already crossed the $50 mark briefly, went as high as $50.65 -- an all-time high -- before closing up 2.1% at $50.58.
That gave the company, led by chairman, president and CEO Mike White, a market capitalization of $38.8 billion, just shy of Time Warner's $39.6 billion, according to Bloomberg. But it was more than the market value of such entertainment biggies as CBS Corp. ($17.9 billion) and Viacom Inc. ($30 billion), according to the Bloomberg data.
DirecTV shares have a one-year return of 32.6%. They have done so well that some investors have wondered how much higher the stock can go.
Some analysts last week increased their target price on DirecTV's stock after the strong quarterly results. Credit Suisse raised its target from $47 to $53, UBS from $51 to $55, and Evercore Partners from $55 to $58.
Collins Stewart analyst Tom Eagan even has a $59 target price -- and a "buy" rating -- on the stock. "While there appears to be increased competitor promotions, we believe concern for operations and the stock is misplaced," he said in a report last Friday. "We estimate the company is well positioned to beat our 470,000 U.S. net [subscriber] adds this year and could possibly exceed last year's 663,000 adds given 1) the many levers (upgrade/retention tools) DirecTV has at its disposal and 2) its relatively low exposure to low-income households."
And Evercore analyst Bryan Kraft said: "DirecTV has a higher growth rate than any other company in the sector, which we think makes it deserve a premium. "
Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett has a $44 price target and "market-perform" rating on DirecTV shares. "Their product and their management remain, in our view, the best in class," he said about the company in a report last week. "It is only their valuation (in the face of nagging questions about terminal value) that has kept us on the sidelines."