LONDON (SHARECAST) - The Tempus column in The Times says not to believe all the rumours surrounding telecoms group Vodafone and the speculation on whether or not it will not receive a special dividend from its 45 per cent-owned US joint venture with Verizon Communications, Verizon Wireless.
Shares fell yesterday after Verizon last week announced a 3% increase in its quarterly dividend but failed to mention its intentions for Verizon Wireless, leading some to think that it was freezing out Vodafone following the $4.5bn special dividend paid last year.
"Frankly, this is implausible for several reasons, even though Verizon isn’t saying much. First, it should need the dividend flow from the joint venture to fund that payment to its own shareholders. Second, it has denied any such intention before," writes the column's Martin Waller.
He said that the 6% yield (when excluding a Verizon venture dividend) is a good enough reason to hold the shares and some clarification on the dividend issue should see them rise again.
House-builder Barratt Developments is a 'hold', according to the Questor team in The Telegraph. Shares dropped yesterday after the company didn't pay a dividend as it continues to pay down debt, something which the paper thinks is better for long-term investors.
As Questor points out, only half of analysts ahead of the full-year results expected a resumption in the dividend. The results were more or less in line with expectations, while the operating margin - "the most important piece of data in house builders' numbers at the moment" - increased from 6.6% to 8.2%.
However, with the shares up 26% since May 11th when they were last tipped by the paper, Questor maintains its neutral stance on the stock.
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