Verizon shares fall after Barclays downgrade citing high valuation that caps 'upside potential'

  • Barclays lower its rating on Verizon's stock on Tuesday to equal weight from overweight.
  • "We believe valuation will cap upside potential from present levels," Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar says.
Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon
Laura Galligan | CNBC
Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon

Barclays lowered its rating on Verizon's stock on Tuesday to equal weight from overweight, bringing its rating in line with other telecommunications companies in what Barclays sees as a shrinking industry.

"While we like [Verizon's] near-mid term prospects, we believe valuation will cap upside potential from present levels and therefore downgrade it," Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar said.

Shares of Verizon slipped 2.2 percent in trading following the call, closing Tuesday at $53.19 per share.

Venkateshwar, who has begun covering the four telecom stocks — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, said the group is "an industry united more by differences than similarities" because "the four major operators tend to diverge meaningfully" on approaches to what are broadly the same markets. He said the companies are becoming "potentially more oligopolistic," but the prices they offer consumers have been falling within a closer range.

Barclays also lowered its price target on Verizon to $50 per share from $56 per share. The stock closed Friday at $54.37.